Titles A-Z
New Releases
Digital Licensing Options
Health & Social Justice
African American
Diversity & Cultural Competency Training
The Library of
African Cinema
Recommended for High School Use
Other Collections
Closed Captioned & Subtitled
Facilitator Guides
Enter your eMail address to subscribe
About Newsreel
Pricing & Policies
Contact Us

43 minutes, 1993, Senegal
Director: Ndiouga Moctar Ba
in French and Wolof with English subtitles

You, Africa! records the path-breaking 1994 tour of nine West African nations by legendary Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour. In the process, it offers a fascinating African variation on the familiar superstar "tour" film. Born in the poor Medina district of Dakar in 1959, Youssou N'Dour was singing professionally in local clubs by the age of twelve. Today he is the leading exponent of world fusion pop, blending traditional music with reggae, jazz and rock. He has successfully reunited late 20th century pop forms and techniques with the African sounds and rhythms at the root of so much of this music. As a result, he has influenced musicians as diverse as Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Branford Marsalis and Paul Simon.

His band, Super Etoile, founded in 1979 and now one of the best known in Africa, embodies this unique musical blend in appearance as well as sound. Dressed in boubous and baseball jerseys, they play both traditional drums and electric guitars and dance to hyperkinetic African rhythms mixed with the latest steps from music videos. It is one thing to hear this music in a convention center or auditorium, another to see it performed, as in this film, before enthusiastic young African audiences who live and breath its unique hybrid sensibility.

In brief interviews during private moments on the tour, Youssou N'Dour discusses the serious political commitment behind his music. For example, he explains that one song about a crocodile who tries to entice a bird from its tree is meant to symbolize African nations tempted to rely on the West for aid. (It's interesting to compare how this same song is used in Picc Mi.) Youssou N'Dour explains that he undertook the immense organizational challenges of the tour as part of his on-going efforts to bring world-class touring and recording facilities back to Africa. He sees himself as a wommat (Wolof for griot) for an entire generation of young Africans and people around the world, for whom his music expresses a modern, trans-national sensibility still distinct from homogenized, commercial American pop music.
"If any Third World performer has a shot at the sort of universal popularity last enjoyed by Bob Marley, it's Youssou, a singer with a voice so extraordinary that the history of Africa seems locked inside it."
Rolling Stone
"Youssou N'Dour is the one African progressing inexorably toward an uncompromised world pop fusion everybody else only theorizes about."
Village Voice


 Home     Titles A-Z     New Releases     Shopping Cart     Order Tracking     Contact Us