Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Movies: Youssou N’dour: I Bring What I Love

Last night a friend of mine took me, against my will at first to see one of the movies showing at the 11th Encounters: South African International Documentary Festival. When I walked out I felt like I owed him an apology for my apprehension because the movie had actually enriched me, I didn’t regret the hour and a half I had just spent watching Youssou N’dour: I Bring What I Love, an uplifting, music-driven movie about the power of one man’s voice to inspire global change. The film unfolds an extraordinary moment in the life of Youssou N’dour -- the best selling and most influential African pop artist of all time, here in SA possibly most known for his 1994 hit song ‘7 Seconds (duet with Neneh Cherry)…It's not a second, 7 seconds away, Just as long as I stay, I'll be waiting, I’ll be waitingeveryone MUST remember that song, I was 8 or 9 and I remember it. The Grammy Award-winning cultural ambassador has long been renowned for bringing people of diverse nations and backgrounds together through his collaborations with such musical superstars as Bono, Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel - and for rousing global audiences with his distinctive voice, electrifying rhythms and catchy melodies. But the film sees him releases his most daringly personal and spiritual album yet, N’dour rocks his Muslim fans in Africa. Now, even as he garners accolades in the West, N’dour must brave controversy and rejection at home as he sets out to win his audience back with the sheer transcendent optimism of his music, which moves hips and feet but also hearts and minds. As director Chai Vasarhelyi tracks N’dour’s emotional journey over 2 years - filming his ever-shifting life in Africa, Europe, and America - she reveals why he has become an inspiration for generations. He initially releases his album Egypt in the hopes of promoting a more tolerant face of Islam. Yet, when his fellow Senegalese rejected the album, and denounced it as blasphemous, he took this as a challenge to go deeper, to reach out to those who would attack him and to work even harder to use the storytelling impact and infectious beats of his songs to unite a divided world. The resulting portrait is not just of a musician turning his spiritual quest into art, but also that of a brave new world in which pop culture now has equal power to incite fury and invite new connections.

1 comment:

  1. hey, loved this film too. He's a kind of Gundhi. This noble man, who's big mission is putting an end to maleria.

    I loved his mother's charm and witt, and his grandmother's depth. to name of a few of the wonderful people that hurry to surround him.

    encore, encore I could have listened to you sing much much more