The debut album from Senegalese singing sensation Youssou N'Dour was originally dedicated to Nelson Mandela during his stay in prison (as the title track would suggest). The arrangements are tight, laden with horn riffs and keyboard flute loops. Aside from "The Rubberband Man," all songs were penned by N'Dour himself here, and it is N'Dour that powers the album throughout with his vocals. With the exception of "The Rubberband Man," all of the songs have a nice groove to them, with some outstanding vocal prowess soaring over the arrangements. The songs have the feeling which has come to be associated with his work, with simple grooves hailing both from Paris and Dakar studios, and his singing providing a focus. Any pre-existing fan of N'Dour should be pleased by this album, and those who are just looking to make inroads into Senegalese music wouldn't find this a bad starting point, although Immigrés might be a more standard place to begin. Pick it up for a nice wander through the early sounds of one of the ambassadors of African music.
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AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg