Warner Vision/Warner Vision .
R4 . COLOR . 117 mins .
E . PAL
Predominantly known to world audiences through his work with Peter Gabriel and his smash hit 7 Seconds with Neneh Cherry, Youssou N’Dour began his career at a very early age in his native Senegal. Following in his mother’s footsteps, he pursued a career in traditional music. He quickly became a superstar in Senegal and right across Africa, incorporating traditional Wolof rhythms and lyrics with western instrumentation to form a style known as Mbalax.
The impressive theatre
After touring Gambia with the band Orchestra Diamono in 1975 he returned home and the next year joined the Star Band, the local house-band at the Miami Club. This is where he really began to forge the style that would lead him onto stardom. In 1979 he left the Star Band to go in a new direction. His music began to encompass even more western instruments such as flamenco guitars and horns. 1981 saw him release Tabaski, the first of ten cassette releases that achieved him much notoriety within Africa. Attention in the western world was beginning to materialise and N’Dour released the very successful Immigres in 1985 and Nelson Mandela in 1986, both achieving critical praise and substantial sales in the US, UK and France.
Great singer, great band
His association with Peter Gabriel began in 1987 where he was asked to tour with Gabriel on his lengthy US tour. This was of course after recording songs with Gabriel for his So album. After the tour he returned to Senegal to further explore the sounds of his homeland. His next two recordings, The Lion and Set, were released via Virgin Records although he was later released from this contract. 1992 saw the release of Eyes Open, the album that contained his biggest hit 7 Seconds with Neneh Cherry. Surprisingly, after this success he concentrated more on his home market, releasing several cassette-only albums. This was until he returned to the world stage in 2000 when he released the anticipated Joko album.
The last date of his 2002 tour saw a pre-Christmas show at London’s Union Chapel Concert Hall, an enchanting venue that suited the singer and his support band perfectly. The blend of vocals with percussion, guitars, keyboards and backing vocals are an effortless mix in this wonderful performance from the world music star. He gives a lengthy performance of almost two hours covering a wide range of his talents including a version of Shakin’ the Tree, however 7 Seconds is not included.
Tan Bi (Heat, Breeze, Tenderness)
Moor Ndaje (Mr Everywhere)
Bitim Rew (Immigres)
Benn La (The Same)
Sagal Ko (Honor Her)
Mbeggeel Noonu La (Because Love's Like That)
Elan De Sabar
Same (Without A Smile)
Shakin' the Tree
So Many Men
Li Ma Weesu (As In A Mirror)
L'appel A La Xawaare (Griot's Gaze)
C'est L'amour (It's Love)
La Femme Est L'avenir De L'amour (Women Are the Future of Love)
Picture quality is very impressive for this performance. Colours are the highlight of this show and these are delivered in vivid quality. Picture clarity is sharp and detail is of equal standard. There are no problems with over saturation and aliasing, which are common problems for concert features. The ratio for this release is 1.85:1 and it's 16:9 enhanced for widescreen owners. The BBC production is well produced overall and although subtitles are supplied in English, French and German, these are only visible in the extra and are not seen in the concert feature. The layer change on this dual layered disc can be found at 63:12 and is well placed between songs to cause little disruption.
Audio is available in a choice of Linear PCM stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Both are extremely good, however the 5.1 mix is the mix of choice as it offers the enveloping feel of being at the actual concert. Clarity is very strong and separation is used effectively for not only audience noise but also for instrument separation. The subwoofer gets some action, although it never takes over and all instruments can be heard clearly. The main feature of this show though is the voice of Youssou N’Dour and this is delivered beautifully with this mix.
There is only one extra available with this release, a featurette entitled A Day in the Life. Running for a brief 8:21, it spends time with Youssou N’Dour and his band on the day of the show. Audio for this extra is supplied in Dolby Digital 2.0 and this is where the supplied subtitles can be utilised.
This is a great release for fans of the African superstar along with fans of world music. Those who have only heard the more western hits of this man may find this a bit too much in one sitting, however others may find it a great introduction to this style of music. The video and audio transfers are of the highest quality and although there is only one small extra, this is still a performance worth seeing.