Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love

Senegalese superstar Youssou N’Dour couldn’t have expected his 2004 album Egypt — proudly devout, musically uncharacteristic and released during Ramadan — to pass without some comment among Muslim compatriots, yet the hagiographic Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love reads like a kind of defense. Playing up the religious opposition to the record, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s first documentary feature follows N’Dour on tour and on message. The performance excerpts, starting with the head-clearing invocational introduction, are by far the most interesting part of the show. But for all the singer’s sincere intentions to build secular-religious bridges, a straight-up concert film might have been a better approach, especially given viewer fatigue with musicians and their causes. Still, N’Dour, who annually headlines the festive Great African Ball in New York, may be the only singer who can mesmerize Senegalese and Western audiences alike with a paean to a 19th-century Sufi hero.

Categories: Movies