N'Dour Halts Music Career in Bid to Be Senegal Prez

Global musical celeb changing his tune, running in next month's race

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 9, 2012 1:33 AM CST

(Newser) – Global music celeb Youssou N'Dour is ready for a promotion—heading the nation of Senegal. The man who said he never wanted to go into politics has changed his tune. N'Dour, 52, has suspended his music career to take up the "supreme patriotic duty" of running in next month's election against Senegal's long-term octogenarian president, Abdoulaye Wade. N'Dour accuses Wade of "hearing only in mono, not stereo" and says he is answering a call from the public to challenge Wade, reports the Guardian.

The singer is also known as an activist, job-creator, and an employer who has more than 1,000 people working for him. He owns two Senegalese recording studios, a micro-finance company, TV and radio stations, and the popular L'Observateur newspaper. He has long vowed to stay out of politics, saying that would be the end of his life as an artist. But his decision now "is out of desperation," said a colleague. "People feel betrayed, and they identified Youssou as the only one popular enough to remove the one responsible. I'm worried for him, but I'm also hopeful."

Back when he was just an activist and a musician in a concert in Italy in 2009.
Back when he was just an activist and a musician in a concert in Italy in 2009.   (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)
World-renowned Senegalese singer Youssou Ndour smiles speaks during an interview in Dakar.
World-renowned Senegalese singer Youssou Ndour smiles speaks during an interview in Dakar.   (Getty Images)
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