When Youssou N'Dour and his band, the Super Etoile de Dakar, made their first London appearance at the Venue in Victoria in 1984, Peter Gabriel was in the audience. He was immediately smitten by the 'liquid velvet' voice, the percussive mbalax beat, the alluring sounds of the Sahel right there in the heart of the city. Peter travelled to Dakar to meet Youssou and thus began a collaboration that led to their duet, 'In Your Eyes'. Youssou and the band were invited to support Peter on his 'SO' album tour in the US and Europe. They joined the Amnesty International Human Rights Now! worldwide tour along with Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen,Tracy Chapman and Sting. Youssou learned much from Peter about songwriting and stage presentation and became a superstar in his own right.
Thanks to Nick Gold, CEO of World Circuit Records and producer of award-winning albums by Ali Farka Toure, Toumani Diabate, Oumou Sangare, Tony Allen, Orchestra Baobab, Cheikh Lo and Trio Da Kali/Kronos Quartet, for reminding me of this mesmerising footage from the 2008 Grand Bal at Bercy Stadium in Paris.
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