Though Youssou may be the most famed vocalist from Africa, it's definitely not all he’s accomplished. As we approach the end of March, which marks Ndour’s debut Sydney Opera House show after a fourteen year gap from visiting Australia, we've taken a snapshot of his career to date. From acting, politics and some inspiring collaborations, the Senegalese singer is one of the most accomplished figures to grace the Concert Hall stage.
He’s a movie star
Next to a well-renowned career in music, Ndour has dabbled in the art of acting. Starring alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Ioan Gruffudd, his most recent work was playing Olaudah Equiano in Michael Apted’s 2006 slave trade drama, Amazing Grace.
In January 2012, Ndour announced he would run for President of Senegal, taking on Absoulaye Wade. On his own TV station Television Futurus Medias he said, “I’ve travelled the world and been seen by people all over the world and I think I have the ability to govern Senegal. I am the alternative.” He would eventually lose out, but was later appointed as Minister of Culture and Tourism, and now acts as Minister Advisor to the President.
Why rent and buy when you can do it yourself? By 1991 Youssou had opened his own recording studio and in 1995 followed that up with his own label Jololi, operating out of Dakar.
He wrote a World Cup theme song
Though Senegal are a proud footballing nation, they failed to qualify for the 1998 World Cup in France. They weren’t completely absent though, with Youssou Ndour writing the theme songs for the tournament La cour des grands.
Youssou Ndour has been nominated for three Grammys. In 1993 and 2009 he was nominated but lost out for Best World Music Album. In 2005 he won the Grammy for his record Egypt. Watch the video recording the moment he found out he would be taking home the award.