Youssou N’Dour Has Left the Building


October 2013

By James Verini

800px-Photo_-_Festival_de_Cornouaille_2010_-_Youssou_N'Dour_en_concert_le_25_juillet_-_021 The first time I saw Youssou N’Dour perform, he was a little flash on a cheap TV in Italy. It was the autumn of 1994. I was living in Florence, taking a documentary filmmaking course, and my subject, Abdula, a Senegalese immigrant who trafficked in trinkets on the Via Palazzuolo, had invited me back to the flat he shared with five other vendors on the city’s outskirts. We’d have dinner so I could learn something of the food and music of his native Senegal. In Abdula’s living room was a pile of bootleg cassettes and videos on thrice-taped-over VHS. We watched some Baaba Maal and Super Diamono. I could have left happy. Then Abdula put in a N’Dour video. See Full Story