Kicking off the Wells Fargo Jazz series, West African star Youssou NDOUR brings to us Mbalax Unplugged, an acoustic one-night-only performance comprising traditional Senegalese melodies, mbalax rhythms, and never-before-heard compositions.
The melodies heard in this performance are inspired by NDOUR’s religious faith as a Sufi Muslim. Throughout his decades-long career, NDOUR’s roots in Senegalese traditional music and griot storytelling have remained the hallmark of his artistic personality.
A Little More…
Throughout his decades long career, NDOUR’s roots in Senegalese traditional music and griot storytelling have remained the hallmark of his artistic personality. At age 16, while in the regionally popular Star Band de Dakar, NDOUR and the group contrived the Senegalese music style that is known today as mbalax – the blend of Wolof traditional instrumental and vocal forms primarily with Cuban and other Latin American popular genres. NDOUR has since been known for introducing international audiences all over the world to the style.
“A voice so extraordinary that the history of Africa seems locked inside it,” (Rolling Stone) NDOUR manages to fashion a sound which is both characteristically Senegalese and outward-looking, a contagiously exciting synthesis of musical languages. Your can expect the mostly acoustic, one-night-only performance at Spoleto Festival USA to be a combination of traditional melodies, mbalax rhythms, and never-before-heard compositions.
To get a feel for Youssou’s music and other artists like him coming to Spoleto this year, you can check out our playlist on Spotify.
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Youssou NDOUR will take the stage at the College of Charleston Cistern Yard on Sunday, May 29.
The Festival’s Wells Fargo Jazz advisor and Wall Street Journal jazz critic Larry Blumenfeld speaks with Youssou NDOUR in our Jazz Talks series at 5:00 pm on Saturday, May 28, at Randolph Hall at the College of Charleston, 66 George St.