Monday, November 19, 2007

You, Sir, Endure!

Of course, I am punning on his name, but, man, Yossou N'Dour can bring it! He played tonight at the Kennedy Center and went on for longer than I expected and had people dancing in the aisles. I'd wager the normal K-Center crowd rarely gets that animated.

It was a real D.C. moment. The crowd was ethnically, culturally, nationally, socially and generationally diverse, but were all there to celebrate one of Senegal's favorite sons and Le Super Etoile de Dakar, a group of such talent, to refer to them as a "back up band" is an insult.

I have heard quite a bit of his work although "Joko" is the only album I have. Believe it or not, "Birima" was not among my top three favorites from the evening which should give you a hint of how good it was.

While he has moved away from his earlier work in mbalax, that remains one of the most amazing parts of his show. I'm going to have to go back and revisit some of his earlier work. While the insane, layered Afro-Cuban jam sessions were my favorite, "New Africa" was particularly moving.

We started the evening in the K-Center's Roof Terrace Restaurant which was surprisingly good. We'd wanted to grab some food somewhere before the show, but ended up not having a whole lot of time. At the last minute, we made an Open Table reservation and left Fairfax with 30 minutes to make it through rush hour traffic. The Gods of Spontaneity must have smiled on us as we actually made it. The evening wasn't even ruined by the two naive cows who rejected their food because it arrived too quickly. They were convinced that they'd been given someone else's "reheated" food. My wife and I had to bite our tongues but decided, in the end, engaging that kind of stupidity simply wasn't worth it.

In any case, the evening was filled with fun, singing, clapping and forgetting about the outside world for a while. It's hard to ask more of an evening on the town.

A special note to vm: this is by no means further encouraging em to buy more music, although he would certainly enjoy it were he to chose to do so on his own accord. :)


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