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Youssou N´Dour - Immigrés - Bitim Rew - 1984


Immigrés-BitimRew (1984) was YoussouN´Dour's first studio-released album, an album considered one of the pillars of African music and one that music critics have included among the 1000 albums of all time. Distributed in 1989 under Virgin's Earthworks collection, it ranked Youssou N'Dour as the most valued in the West of all African musicians, and as a bulwark of mbalax, Senegal's popular music. The mbalax is a combination of traditional griot music and the influences of Afro-Cuban rhythms brought from the Caribbean to West Africa during the 50s and 60s of the last century. In the 70s this mix was steeped in the rhythms of Senegalese dances, including electric guitars and saxophones, tama solos, contributions from Sufi religious music, and the influence of rock and jazz.

Immigrés is a rare concept album for pop-rock-educated ears. In the first place, due to the distribution: four very long songs for a very short album and, above all, due to the need to adapt our ear for the full enjoyment of a rhythmic polysemy that radically differs from the much more basic forms to which the rock had gotten us used to it so far.

In these songs (with lyrics that evoke traditional stories from their country), the ingredients seem to have an independent life of their own. They circulate along its lane, intersect with other sections or rhythms, the melodies are sensed and disappear barely outlined; they are swept away by the keyboards, they are returned or not by the guitar, and all under the guise of an unpredictable jam between Youssou and his people from Le SuperEtoile de Dakar, which end up taking on an iron and secret coherence.

Immigrés: three songs made of devilish successions of rhythms and a song (if we can call it "Pitche Me") with a much more ceremonious appearance and where the beautiful voice of N'Dour leaves us knocked out with impossible arabesques. A call to his fellow immigrants and a sample of his efforts to bring his music to the rest of the world. 

Tracks list:

01. Immigrés/BitimRew

02. PitcheMi

03. Taaw

04. Badou

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