Youssou N’Dour, The Lion

Keith Harris

By Keith Harris

on 09.07.11 in Reviews

The Lion

Youssou N'Dour
Stately-yet-polyrhythmic rock

With soundtrack producer and Peter Gabriel pal George Acogny behind the boards, N’Dour tailored his sound for the enlightened Boomer: This is stately-yet-polyrhythmic rock, maybe a little too comfortable with its significance and a little too uncomfortable with its synthesizers. But The Lion isn’t as schlocky as that description suggests — even David Sancious’s slick sax is a step up from David Sanborn (let alone Kenny G). Nor as pompous; the title track is a rousing fight song for Senegal’s football team. Still, he’s not afraid to be sentimental or grand: “Shaking the Tree,” a duet with Gabriel and the first of N’Dour’s many sympathetic songs toward women, floats the progressive sentiment: “Do not follow your heart/ Know your destiny.”