on 31 October 2002
During 20 years in the music industry Youssou N'Dour has sung in English, French and Wolof, The language of his grigot(praise-singing) ancestors. Already well established on the West African music scene it was't until 1994 that N'Dour hit international acclaim with his award winning album "The Guide" featuring a blistering duet with Nina Cherry in "Seven Seconds". Since his last album Jololi in 2000 which had a heavy western influnce with songs recorded alongside artists such as Wycleff and sting, N'Dour has returned to his roots to find inspiration for Nothing's in Vain his most traditional and prehaps his best album--yet. This beautiful collection of songs are among N'Dour's finest and have a very uplifting feel to them. Accompanied by the 8 piece backing band Super Etoile, traditional players on the Kora (harp lute) balafon (xylophone) and xalam (lute), and not forgetting N'Dour's Spine-tingling 7 octave voice, the ingredients are all there. All this along with chattering guitars and talking drums make this is a must have album for all world music and in fact all music lovers. YOUSSOU N'DOUR TRULY IS A WORLD CLASS ARTIST.
on 11 November 2002
I have been a fan of Youssou N'Dour's music for about 10 years now and am disappointed to see that he feels the need to produce music for the Western public differently from what he produces for the Senegalese market.
'Nothing is in vain' is a beautiful album, like anything that has ever come from Youssou N'Dour, yet most of the rythms are addapted to the western ear and they lack the amazing force of his original mbalax stuff.
Maybe I am oldfashioned, but I want him to get back to what he did on his previous albums, even Joko is less western for my taste. But as he said in his song Birima on the Joko (the way it was translated to me by a Senegalese friend): 'Whereever you will go or what ever you will do, I will follow'. Youssou N'Dour is still the King of African music.
on 10 November 2002
For those thinking that N'dour had lost his roots, or that they'd heard enough World Music, Youssou's latest is an inspiration. Using, predominantly, traditional influences and instruments, Youssou has created a treasure.