Youssou N'Dour, one of the most influential recording artists in Africa and indeed the world, has recently revealed an upcoming career change. As a major public figure in his native Senegal, he is soon to be utilising this standing in the realm of politics rather than music, in the lead up to the heavily contested presidential elections taking place in the country next February.
In a broadcast on his own TV station, TCM, over the weekend, N'Dour stated 'I will free myself of all artistic commitments from 2 January next year to enter the political arena.' 'For me, there are two Senegals. The Senegal of the have-nots and Senegal of the haves. My concern is the Senegal of the have-nots.'
It has not been clearly stated in what capacity or for how long N'Dour will turn to politics, but his announcement has generally been greeted by jubilance and optimism. Amadou Diop, an advisor to Idrissa Seck, a former PM and key oppostion figure stated of N'Dours move - 'his political movement is going to put pressure on politicians. He's loved by Senegalese, by music fans, and he's a shrewd businessman who has created jobs – this is what the people want.'
Best known globally for his songs drawing on Senegal's traditional mbalax music, N’Dour has released countless albums, won a Grammy award in 2005 for his 'Egypt', and has recorded with artists as diverse as Lou Reed and Neneh Cherry. We wish him well in his political venture, but do hope he returns to creating great music soon enough!