Born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1959, Youssou N'Dour is descended from a family of famous musician storytellers, an essential part of the Senegalese oral tradition, which dates back hundreds of years before the arrival of the French colonisers in sub-Saharan Africa.
For him, music is a way of life, a way to picture what is around him, to deal with emotions and to convey a message to those who dare to listen.
Singing mainly in the Senegalese national language he started to address issues such as drought, the country's economic situation, apartheid, slavery and urban and international migration by people in search of a better life.
He has performed to free Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, has been appointed as a Unicef ambassador, and uses his music to fight poverty, diseases and misgovernment.
Unlike other African stars who live in Europe, he continues to live in Dakar - he says because he loves his country and believes in its potential.