DAKAR (AFP) ― Senegalese music icon Youssou N’Dour has told AFP he is ready to travel to the Central African Republic to spread his message of peace amid inter-religious violence which has torn the country apart.
Speaking late Sunday at the recording of a single dedicated to reconciliation in Central Africa, N’Dour said artists had a role in talking about world events such as the CAR crisis and that music “allows us to take shortcuts” to speak to a wider audience.
“We can participate in bringing peace to this country which is so dear to us,” he said.
N’Dour, a Muslim, is collaborating with Central African singer Lydie Natacha, who goes by the stage name of Idylle Mamba and is a Christian.
He “decided to associate the voice of a Christian from the Central African Republic with his (to) encourage strong international solidarity to restore a definitive peace” to the country, according to his spokesman Charles Faye.
N’Dour told AFP that “the people there will listen and we are also willing to talk to them” in their own country, if required.
The Grammy-winning musician has over 20 albums to his name and has long been involved in social and humanitarian issues. He is also a businessman and was in 2012 appointed a government minister, first in charge of culture and tourism and then only tourism.
He is now an adviser to President Macky Sall.
Best known in the West for his “Seven Seconds” hit collaboration with Neneh Cherry, N’Dour has collaborated with Peter Gabriel, Sting, Wyclef Jean, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and others.
His music is a fusion of Senegal’s popular Mbalax style with samba, hip-hop, jazz and soul, tackling political and social issues.