The Washington Post

In concert: Youssou N’Dour at Lisner Auditorium


Youssou N’Dour touched on the reggae sounds of his recent album as well as percussive African songs. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

For this project, N'Dour has even added former Bob Marley keyboardist Tyrone Downie to his impeccable 10-piece band, Super Etoile. The charismatic vocalist performed reggae-accented versions of his anthemic "Medina'' and 1994 international hit, "7 Seconds,'' as well as "Marley,'' the new album's heartfelt but lyrically clumsy ode to Jamaica's super star. Featuring an unusually large quota of English-language material, the set lasted a mere 65 minutes, peaking with a version of Marley's "Redemption Song.''

But N'Dour wasn't half finished. What seemed at first to be a generous selection of encores sprawled into a second set that lasted ten minutes longer than the first. Singing mostly in Wolof, his native tongue, the singer led the band through songs that — as he sometimes acknowledged — are not well-known outside of Africa. That hardly mattered, since Super Etoile's chiming guitars were exhilarating, its four percussionists provided irresistible locomotion and N'Dour's sharp yet smooth voice is mesmerizing whatever he sings.



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