Artist: Youssou N'dour
There seems to be no end to the stream of highly talented artists coming from Africa's Western side - of which Sengealese superstar Youssou N'Dour is the latest. In truth, N'Dour has been slowly slipping into the world of Western pop for almost two decades - during which time he has worked with artists like Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon and released several albums showcasing his trademark m'balax sound (mix of Afro/Cuban/American pop influences). With NOTHING'S IN VAIN, N'Dour embraces African music's more acoustic roots, specifically reveling in sonic textures of his Senegalese homeland, which includes instruments like the balafon, kora (harp), xalam (lute) and riti (violin). The artist's riveting voice, tempered by his training in Senegal's Griot tradition, is worth the price of the album alone.