Nonesuch records is set to release the soundtrack from the documentary about Senegalese singer/songwriter/humanitarian Youssou N’Dour, I Bring What I Love, on January 26, 2010.
The album features recordings of music from throughout N’Dour’s career as well as two new songs—including the documentary’s title theme, written by N’Dour, Martin Davich, and the film’s composer James Newton Howard—and “Yonnent” (“The Messenger”), a duet with Moustapha Mbaye, known in Senegal as “the Prophet’s Griot.”
The film, directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, documents the recording, promoting, and touring of N’Dour’s Grammy Award–winning 2004 album, Egypt. Oscilloscope Laboratories will release the film on DVD in early 2010.
N’Dour collaborated with Egyptian composer Fathy Salama on Egypt, which comprises music praising the major figures of Senegalese Sufi Islam. The album was met with worldwide critical acclaim yet lambasted in Senegal, where it was seen as blasphemous for a pop star to sing of such sacred things. Public sentiment in the artist’s home country changed, however, when the album was awarded the 2005 Grammy for best Contemporary World Music Album—a first for both N’Dour and Senegal.
Award-winning filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi was on hand for the duration of this turbulent period of N’Dour’s career, documenting the singer’s personal, musical, and spiritual journey. Vasarehelyi was first inspired by the power of N’Dour’s music and message. “I was drawn most of all to the hope Youssou creates,” she said, continuing, “Although his is one of the most popular voices coming out of Africa, many people around the world still don’t know his work. So I wanted to make a film that would illuminate Youssou’s life and his message for others to discover.”
The resulting film, Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love, was premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews.
Buy the album:
- In North America: Music From the Motion Picture I Bring What I Love. Other recordings available: Egypt. Guide (Wommat), Rokku Mi Rokka, Nothing’s In Vain, Joko: The Link, Rough Guide to Youssou N’Dour & Etoile de Dakar, Immigrés, Set, Eyes Open
- In Europe: Music From the Motion Picture I Bring What I Love. Other recordings available: Egypt, Guide Wommat, Nothing’s in Vain (Coono du réér), Joko, Immigres, Rokku Mi Rokka