“Once Upon a Time in Senegal: Birth of Mbalax 79-81” is out today. There are not many African artists whose names are as well-known as Youssou N’Dour’s. And it’s not just his ‘7 Seconds’ duet with Neneh Cherry, or his frequent collaborations with Peter Gabriel and others.
On one level the 2CDs of ‘Once Upon a Time in Senegal’ form a chapter in the story of who Youssou N’Dour is and how he got there. But on another they show him simply as an equal member of a band … a band in the right place at the right time and doing the right things.
That brief but vital moment in time is captured in these 23 tracks selected from the cassettes that Etoile de Dakar recorded between 1979 and 1981. Several have never been released outside of Senegal, and all have been sensitively re-mastered from the earliest available audio source. These are the best sounding recordings of this material available.