On Saturday we went to see Youssou in a very different venue than last time. It was a concert space en plein air, as they say, and it was packed with a generally younger, more casual, and much more energetic crowd than at the Grand Theatre gala.
I almost skipped this show because of the fear it could never live up to the first one, but then I realized that would be incredibly silly. And in the end, the two shows had such different vibes that they were like apples and oranges.
One thing remained constant, however: the ungodly hours. Youssou is nearing 60 years old and yet he came onstage at 1:15 and finished performing at 3:49am. (I know the precise time because by that point I was checking my phone every five seconds.) He and his band kept asking the crowd, “Est-ce que vous êtes fatigues?” and my whimpered “Yes”es were completely drowned out by the delirious “Non!!!!”s.
But earlier in the night, when I was not yet falling asleep on my feet… here’s the moment that gave me chills. (That’s my beautiful and charming “host sister,” Cecile aka Mamie, at the end.)
I’ve now heard this song, “New Africa,” live three times. The first time was in New York and I got baby chills. In Senegal, the baby chills turned into enormous adult chills, and I felt a bit like a sucker for cheap thrills. But can you blame me?
It was an awesome night. There’s a longer video here (including amazing drumming and dancing) if you want to see more.
Tonight I was planning to check out an acoustic set at a restaurant only two blocks from my house… but then I got lazy. I literally haven’t been out once past 8pm since arriving in Dakar so it’s high time I get my nightlife on. Tomorrow! I’m going with someone I met at the language center to see a popular Senegalese band, Pape et Cheikh, at a club called Villa Krystal. Or we might change our minds and go to see a reggae band, Tiken Jah, at Just4U, which is apparently a very cool place in spite of its ridiculous name.
I also just found out that Youssou N’dour, whose music is half the reason I’m in love with Senegal, is playing a benefit concert at the fanciest hotel in town next Saturday. The unfortunate thing is that tickets are $100. I don’t think I’ve paid that much for a concert anywhere, ever. $100 is a small fortune here… though it’s worth a small fortune to see Youssou in his home country. Then again I’ve heard he plays here often, and I’ve also just heard about another great show the same night, so I might go to that one instead.
Anyway, it’s nice to be spoiled for choice. I hope your weekends are similarly filled to the brim with amazing options.
Here are some weekend reads, provided your internet access is not, like mine, virtually nonexistent.
What do free, open, and peaceful borders look like?
This article about straightening out croissants is not from The Onion, but it could be.
Both this lady and her lawsuit are awesome.
“How scared or not you are is an emotion, not a statistic.” How to make rational safety decisions when it comes to travel (and many other things).
Language learning has made me more open to try new things, but unfortunately not in the way illustrated in this cute cartoon.
Two dishes tied for France’s favorite. For some reason neither of them are choucroute garnie (which came in third).
This documentary about an Afro-Cuban community’s links to Sierra Leone is on my to-see list – for the next time streaming video becomes a remote possibility.
You can now download all of NASA’s beautiful / awesome retro-style space travel posters for free.
An alfajores recipe (alfajores = best cookies on earth)
Passez un bon week-end!
[Photo: boys playing soccer one street from my host family’s house.]