The city’s elegantly garbed Senegambian massive steps out for an mbalax marathon as the continent’s most inventive and internationally renowned musician presents night two of the city’s annual Great African Ball. For more than 20 years, Youssou N’Dour and his astonishing Étoile de Dakar band have refined the Senegalese national style known as mbalax—an electrifying polyrhythmic blend of Wolof tribal rhythms and Western rock and funk—into a sound as uniquely their own as Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat or Bob Marley’s reggae. While last year’s excellent Rokku Mi Rokka (Give and Take) found Youssou returning to his acoustic Senegambian roots, his shows tend to resemble extended hit parades. As one musical bombshell drops after another, high-stepping onstage dancers seduce the crowd into ecstasy while a seemingly endless parade of well-heeled connoisseurs toss bucketloads of currency onstage in appreciation.
Thu., Nov. 27, 10 p.m., 2008
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 19, 2008