1 October 1959
Youssou N'Dour was born in Dakar, West of Senegal. He was a member of Star Band, Senegal’s most famous band. He left the band to form his own, Á‰toile de Dakar in 1979. By 1995, N’Dour had his own recording label, Jololi . His music genre is traditional Mbalex with influences from hip hop and Cuban rumba.  As a soloist he collaborated with prominent artists such as Paul Simon, Sting and Tracy Chapman. He has been hailed as one of the most important figures in world music. In 2012 N’Dour entered the Senegalese presidential race and was disqualified due to a discrepancy in which his application for presidential candidacy lacked the required number of supporting signatures.  He was appointed Minister of Tourism and Culture later that same year. N’Dour’s activism & charity has focussed on upliftment projects in his home country of Senegal, as well as other countries throughout Africa & his efforts include organising & performing in a charity concert to support the release of Nelson Mandela in 1985; reworking the Peter Gabriel song, Biko, along with Lou Reed as part of the Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour in 1998, running his own development projects such as Project Joko throughout Africa, and serving as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations (UN). In 2008, N’Dour launched his microfinance company, Birima, to boost entrepreneurism in Senegal.   Further Reading: BBC News article about N'Dour's presidential bid. Online New York Times article about Youssou N'Dour's presidential race entry. Aljazeera opinion piece discussing the protests to president Wade's attempts to continue as president for a third term.