The legend of mbalax for the very first time at Oslo World.
This autumn, Youssou N’Dour will play his first concert at Oslo World. It’s about time. The Senegalese artist is one of the biggest acts of his home country, and for the last 30 years, he has been one of the most recognizable and loved African artists on the international pop stage.
N’Dour grew up with the griot tradition on his mother's side and even though he is not raised as a griot, it has often been tempting to view N’Dour as a modernizer of the role, in the way he combines musicianship and storytelling with participation in several other parts of society. N’Dour has been minister of culture and tourism in his home country, and since 2000 he has worked as a goodwill ambassador for the UN Food and Agriculture program. He has performed in several movies and has cooperated with countless well-known artists, from Peter Gabriel on the 1986 classic So, to Neneh Cherry, with whom he made the trilingual hit “7 Seconds” in 1994.
In 2021, N’Dour released MBALAX. The album is named after the genre mbalax, a postcolonial musical blend that is very popular in Senegal and Gambia. Many people associate the genre with N’Dour. Through his participation in bands like Étoile de Dakar, he was part of the genre's breakthrough in the seventies and beyond. His new album can feel like a look back at what he has achieved, N’Dours musical acumen and distinct voice evident in every track, performed to perfection. But MBALAX will also make an excellent first impression, introducing new listeners to the music of an artist with a huge cultural footprint, and who is not done yet.