[QODLink]
Archive
Ndour sings to Islam's defence
Senegalese singing star Youssou Ndour's new album is devoted to showing the real face of Islam at a time, he says, his faith is being abused and misinterpreted.
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2003 15:46 GMT
Singer's Sant Allah aims to show the 'true face' of Muslim faith
Senegalese singing star Youssou Ndour's new album is devoted to showing the real face of Islam at a time, he says, his faith is being abused and misinterpreted.

The album Sant Allah, or Homage to God in Senegal's mainstream Wolof language, marks a departure for one of West Africa's most popular artists, who has won world renown for his mix of African rhythms and electric rock.

Ndour first made his name outside Africa working with Britain's Peter Gabriel during the "world music" rage of the 1980s.

He consolidated his global reach with his 1994 hit Seven Seconds, sung with Sierra Leonean-born Swede Neneh Cherry.

"I am first and foremost a Muslim. Every believer needs to take stock at some point of their spiritual life," Ndour said.

"Sant Allah is an album which praises the tolerance of my religion, which has been badly misused by a certain ideology," Ndour said.

Political stand

The Senegalese superstar has made political statements before. He postponed what should have been the biggest US tour of his career in March to protest against the war in Iraq. He finally carried out the tour later in the year.

"I cannot sing these songs in the usual places like the nightclub...or a stadium. It's out of the question"

Youssou Ndour
Senegalese singer

"At a time when there is a debate on Islam, the world needs to know how people are taking over this religion. It has nothing to do with the violence that one hears about, with terrorism."

The album, which goes on sale first in cassette form in Senegal, includes paeans to Muslim leaders such as Sheikh Amadu Bamba, founder of Mouridism, Senegal's conservative and economically powerful Muslim brotherhood.

Ramadan inspiration

Ndour said the idea for the new album first came to him during the holy month of Ramadan in 1998.

Sant Allah will be released globally on compact disc in two months.

Despite his success Ndour remains based in Senegal, an impoverished mainly Muslim country, where he has a modern studio and also owns a radio station, newspaper and popular club.

But he said there was no question of playing the new songs in his dance club in the capital, Dakar.

"I cannot sing these songs in the usual places like the nightclub...or a stadium. It's out of the question," he said.

"I refuse to even envisage it. This album is sacred for me, as its title shows. The promotional campaign will have to take into account that it is a spiritual product."

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Traditional spring festival blossoms outside India through fun runs, raves and TV commercials.
Parents unable to look after children are marrying them off at a tender age, exposing them to maternal deaths.
A US outbreak of algae-produced biotoxins that attack animals'?? brains also poses a grave risk to humans.
Israel has re-arrested dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank, an act a human rights group says is 'unjustified'.
New measures needed as dozens of citizens fighting with Islamic State pose home-grown terror threat, PM Abbott says.
join our mailing list