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Rokku Mi Rokka

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iTunes Review

After bringing the sound of mbalax — a blend of traditional Senegalese music, pop, and other elements — to the West in the 1980s, Youssou N’Dour became an international star. On 2007’s Rokku Mi Rokka (Give and Take) he draws from the music of northern Senegal. The fine vocalist is backed by tama (“talking drum”), xalam (possibly an ancestor of the banjo), various percussion instruments, as well as guitar, bass, and keyboards. “4-4-44” opens the album with delightful vocals and a supercharged horn section. Islamic elements, which play a role throughout Rokku, are in the foreground on “Baay Faal,” but the track also has a distinct West African lilt. “Xel,” with its hard-hitting drum accents and vocal harmonies, possesses a catchiness that easily travels across cultures, while “Dabbaax” features guitar playing that would be at home on an American rock record from the 1970s. Rokku is never really low-key or overwhelmingly intense; instead, it possesses a steady, percolating sound that draws you into its energetic flow.

Customer Reviews

Simply Wonderful!

This album is just beautiful. Being from that part of the world, I can tell that Youssou has done a lot of research and went back to the roots to give this jewel. I like how he put African instruments like the Xalam, Ngoni, Kora, Sabar, etc. without making them overwhelming. He still found ways to make the album sound very open. That's genius. Youssou is a true musician and he deserves to be acknowledged. To the reviewers who had outrageous things to say about Youssou N'Dour, I say do your homework and open up. If you know Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes", you have already gotten a taste of Youssou, because it was inspired by his music. And if you ever wonder where the Blues, Raggae, and other musical genres came from, this album will tell you. Just listen closely.

I don't understand a word

but this album is incredible. the beats are infectious and the music great! I love this stuff!

Music played by giants

Untrammeled joy. The esteemed rock critic Robert Christgau suggested that Youssou N'dour and Super Etoile were the best rock band in the world. He is probably right.


Born: 1959 in Dakar, Senegal

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Some of the most exciting sounds to come out of Africa in the late '80s and 1990s were produced by Senegal-born vocalist Youssou N'Dour. Although rooted in the traditional music of his homeland, N'Dour consistently sought new means of expression. In addition to recording as a soloist, N'Dour collaborated with a lengthy list of influential artists including Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, Neneh Cherry, and Branford Marsalis. A native of the impoverished Media section of Dakar, N'Dour inherited his musical...
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Rokku Mi Rokka, Youssou N'Dour
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Customer Ratings

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