Winter is setting in but YOUSSOU N’DOUR brought the heat up in Montreal last Thursday.

It was a packed house at the Olympia on November 12th. A mix of generations and nationalities, all united by the Legend of African Music in general.

Mr. Youssou N’Dour is not just any musician. He is also a politician in Senegal, and clearly a charismatic gatherer of people. Everyone in the theater was together, happy, dancing with each other, laughing and forgetting any sort of negativity at the door.

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It was a treat for Nuits d’Afrique Productions‘ 30 year anniversary. A legend marking this event was an important note and we are thankful to them for bringing him here!

I felt lucky to be able to get in as press as when I got there there was about 4 blocks of people lined up to go in. It wasn’t sold out at first, but they must have closed the doors on some people! And what a crowd! The energy was high during the opening act as it was, imagine when the Mbalak star came out…

Youssou N’Dour came out in a beautiful sparkly white Senegalese outfit after being announced enthusiastically twice. He followed his 12 musicians and got into it right away. Unsurprisingly at easy with the stage, he keeps the audience in complete communion with the music all throughout the show.

The 56 year old musician/politician has not lost any of his 4 octave range, nor has he lost any of his famous energetic dance moves. His 12 piece band is tight, with 4 percussions, 2 guitars, 2 keyboards, 1 saxophone, 1 bassist, and 2 back up vocals, the stage was full. There was even an animated and uncontrollable dancer, agitating the already frantic crowd. Some of them them took some killer solos, and honestly, I couldn’t go into more details than that as I couldn’t help myself but to be part of the very specific breed of dancing mad people!

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They played for about 2 and half hours, going through the classics like immigrés, but also 7 seconds, though it was missing Neneh Cherry. That much impassioned reaction from a crowd has been seldom seen here, most people knew every single songs. It felt like a Madonna concert at times! It became borderline suffocating, though the vibe was so high that you could forget about it in an instant, forgetting that your feet and legs would definitely be sore the next day from all the jumping up and down!

Crédit photos: Sébastien Vergne


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About The Author

Collaborator - RREVERB

Classical pianist in the great times of wearing braces, insomniac sound engineer with a headphone imprint on my skull, and also (mostly?) electro acoustic music composer during my existential self-questioning evenings. Mother to two garden gnomes, community manager and freelancer scribbler.