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Youssou N'Dour celebrates Africa at first Paris appearance for two years
Senegalese music star Youssou N'Dour returned to the Paris music scene after a two-year break on Saturday to play a concert sponsored by RFI. It was his first stage appearance in the French capital after stints as Senegal's minister of culture and then minister of tourism.
N'Dour, a master of the Mbalax music style, gave his 14th Grand Bal at the city's massive Bercy concert hall.
He started the concerts, which aim to be a giant party for Paris's west African community, told RFI the event would stay true to its ideals.
"For me, the Grand Bal is the chance to give a good image of Africa," N'dour told RFI. "Both women and men are well dressed and it's a moment of celebration, not to be rushed. It's peaceful and joyful."
The concert shows a positive image of Africa, he says.
"Too often in the West, the Africa we see is one of war, of suffering, of the Aids epidemic. Yes, that exists, but there's also the good and positive side Africa, and that's the image I want to show to the West."
N'dour is one of Africa's best-known music stars in Europe and America.
In a career that started in the 1970s with his band the Etoile de Dakar, followed by the Super Etoile de Daker in the 80s, he has recorded with Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Manu Dibango, Alan Stivell and Neneh Cherry.
In April 2012 he was named minister of culture and tourism in the newly elected government of prime minister Abdoul Mbaye under the presidency of Macky Sall.
In a reshuffle he was replaced at culture by Abdoul Aziz Mbaye but kept the tourism portfolio.
The government lost power on 1 September 2013.