Youssou N’ Dour

“I Bring What I Love,” a documentary chronicling Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour’s musical journey across three continents, made its New York debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) this Saturday. N’Dour performed live at the sold out event.

“I Bring What I Love” follows N’Dour from his hometown in Dakar as he travels on tour to promote his controversial album, “Egypt.” N’Dour received both praise and protest after the record, which was devoted to Islam, was released in 2004 during Ramadan.

The Senegalese public proclaimed that the album desecrated Islam. Many critics asserted that a political singer should not use religious matters for entertainment purposes. N’Dour says he felt like Africans needed a voice in the debate about what it means to be Muslim in our changing world. Meanwhile, after four nominations and no award, N’Dour won his first Grammy in 2005 for “Egypt.”

After the documentary’s premiere, N’Dour and his nine-man band performed for the eager BAM crowd. Energetic and generous as an entertainer, N’Dour encouraged audience members to jump up on stage to dance. Men, women and children showcased their moves. One man, on a crutch, ignored his limitations as the music encouraged his body to jerk in ways that made you fear he would reinjure himself right there on stage. The internationally acclaimed artist never seemed to miss a beat, continuing to sing while fans stood next to him for impromptu photo ops.

“I Bring What I Love” explores the inspirations, motivations and aspirations of Youssou N’Dour by providing a glimpse of the world-renowned performer’s perspectives. The film, by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, hits U.S. theatres on June 12.

Written by Shaira B.

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