Nothing's in Vain (Coono du réér)

Nothing's in Vain (Coono du réér)

by Youssou N'Dour
5.0 2


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Nothing's in Vain (Coono du réér)

There's been a back-to-acoustic-roots trend among African artists recently, and even the big names don't seem exempt. Salif Keita's done it, and here Youssou N'Dour's at it -- which proves to be no bad thing. His recent output has been quite schizophrenic, divided between albums aimed at a Western audience and those for his native Senegal, with the more hardcore m'balax sound that made him popular in the first place reserved for the African releases. While the easy melodies of Nothing's in Vain (Coono Du Réér) place it far more within the Afro-pop category than much of his previous work, it's still a real gem, bringing in traditional musicians alongside his band, as on the opening "Tan Bi," which works gorgeously, the harp-like kora intersecting with N'Dour's rhythm section. The keening griot wail which has typified so much of his work is absent here, allowing for more subtlety of infection and tone. While that might be a bit of a necessity as he grows older, it also reinforces the fact that Youssou is one of the world's great singers, capable of wrapping and communicating emotion in a note or phrase -- even if you don't understand a word of Wolof (or French, since several of the pieces, like his version of "Il N'Ya Pas D'Amour Heureux," are in French). And when he does break into English, on "Look This Way" and "Africa, Dream Again," it's not the ridiculous, gushing lyrics that have appeared on some of his more recent discs. Yes, there are too many lush keyboards for it to fully qualify as a true acoustic release, and the low-key tamas juddering across "Yaru" do sometimes make you wish the band would kick into high gear, but overall this is N'Dour's most focused and accomplished disc in a long time. Maybe it's a new path, maybe it's a breathing space while he decides what to do next, maybe he just wanted a change. Whatever the reason, it works.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/22/2002
Label: Nonesuch
UPC: 0075597965421
catalogNumber: 79654
Rank: 181328

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Youssou N'Dour   Primary Artist,Vocals
Youssou Camara   Drums
Habib Faye   Bass,Guitar,Keyboards
Manu Katché   Drums
Jimi Mbaye   Guitar
Ouzin Ndiaye   Background Vocals
Pape Oumar Ngom   Guitar
Jean-Philippe Rykiel   Keyboards
Régis Gizavo   Accordion
Pascal Obispo   Guitar,Vocals
Crescendo   Background Vocals
Alain Bergé   Drums
Pierre Jaconelli   Guitar
Sokhna Cissoko   Background Vocals
Baboulaye Sissokho   Kora
Jaco Largent   African Percussion
Helene Faussart   Background Vocals
Celia Faussart   Background Vocals
Viviane N'Dour   Background Vocals
Ibrahima Cisse   Keyboards

Technical Credits

David Bither   Executive Producer
Philippe Brun   Engineer
Habib Faye   Producer
MBaye N'Diaye   Contributor
Youssou N'Dour   Producer,Engineer
Michel Sauvage   Engineer
Assane Thaim   Tama
Matthew Vaughan   Programming
Pascal Obispo   Producer
Volodia   Engineer
Thomas Rome   Executive Producer,translation
Christophe Voisin   Programming
Ndiaga Ndour   Engineer
Michelle Lahana   Executive Producer
Gregg Schaufeld   Editorial Coordinator

Customer Reviews

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Nothing's in Vain (Coono du réér) [US] 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The man is greatness personified musically. You would be doing yourself a great injustice to not purchase this for your collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Youssou N'Dour has made a beautiful album here, maybe the best of his career. Its melodies are magical and arresting - sometimes lilting, sometimes somber, always sung with passion. "Nothing's in Vain" breathes life into the traditional Senegalese instruments (kora, xalam, balafon, tokoro and talking drum) N'Dour has chosen to feature, and the palpitating heart of mbalax underlies the whole record. This is a gem. He has really put it all together.