Quintessential N’Dour

Youssou N’Dour -   I Bring What I Love
Youssou N’Dour – I Bring What I Love
Youssou N’Dour

Music From the Motion Picture I Bring What I Love (Nonesuch, 2010)

The critically acclaimed documentary I Bring What I Love, directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, details the musical and spiritual journey of singer, songwriter and Senegalese pop icon Youssou N’Dour after the controversial Nonesuch release of his stunning 2004 Grammy Award-winning Egypt, but the easy success of the film is certainly the soundtrack.

Oscilloscope Laboratories is expected to release the DVD in April of 2010 and hopefully we’ll get a sneak look at the film, but the Nonesuch release of the Music From the Motion Picture I Bring What I Love is a sweet consolation. Pooling tracks from Mr. N’Dour’s career, the soundtrack I Bring What I Love is quintessentially N’Dour, full of the singer’s bright, intoxicating easy swing and unpretentious grace.

Religious leaders in Senegal might have taken a dim view of the Sufi praises Mr. N’Dour composed with Fathy Salama on Egypt, but that’s just a matter of opinion and isn’t always true that a good deal of the accusations of blasphemy are because the critics are looking for something to take offense to. It takes only a brief listen to Mr. N’Dour to discover that his unadorned joy is real and heartfelt. I Bring What I Love proves that.

Opening with the stunning title track “I Bring What I Love,” written by Mr. N’Cour, Martin Davich and the documentary’s composer James Newton Howard, surrounds Mr. N’Dour’s freefall vocals with piano, acoustic guitar, keyboards, flute and percussion, in a hymn like devotional. Following the title track is the sweeping easy groove guitar and brass on the dishy “Immigres Bitim Rew.”

N’Dour fans are treated to the breezy “Birma,” the elegance of Mr. N’Dour’s vocals against Baboulaye Sissoko on kora and Adama Sissoko on balaphone on “Yama” and the haunting live version of “Mame Bamba” with Fathy Salama Orchestra. Other gems include “Atou Reer Na,” “Li Ma Wessu” and “New Africa.” “Yonnent,” another original track for I Bring What I Love, features N’Dour and singer Moustapha Mbaye, known as “the Prophet’s Griot.” This track shimmers with all the goodness that is N’Dour.

The music on Music From the Motion Picture I Bring What I Love is all the incentive the documentary needs any Youssou N’Dour fans need. As fans and critics we often forget the price that is often paid by musicians. The music snags something in the brain and uplifts us, but the journey for the artist can be anything but uplifting. Lucky for us that there are Youssou N’Dours out there braving the storm.

Buy the album:

Preorder the DVD: I Bring What I Love

Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.


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