- Released: September 5, 2000
- Label: Nonesuch
CMJ - 10/00, p.53
"...Emotive English lyrics and lavish production values....[He] has one of the greatest voices in Africa....a short, strong set in which [his] roots-pop charm survives his swim in the mainstream..."
- 1.Wiri-Wiri - (African Languages)
- 2.Birima - (African Languages)
- 3.Birima - (remix)
- 4.This Dream - (African Languages)
- 5.Yama - (African Languages)
- 6.She Doesn't Need to Fall - (African Languages)
- 7.New Africa - (African Languages)
- 8.Beykat - (African Languages)
- 10.My Hope Is in You
- 11.Red Clay
JOKO was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best World Music Album.
Personnel includes: Youssou N'Dour, Peter Gabriel, Victoria Chidid (vocals); Kamil Rutan (guitar, programming); Johnny $, Jimi Mbaye, Pape Oumar Ngom, Kevin Armstrong (guitar); Thierno Koite (soprano saxophone); Mac Fallows, Ibrahia Cisse, Madou Diabate, Paul Mirkovitch, George Acogny (keyboards); Habib Faye (keyboards, bass); Simon Richmond, Jerome Lemonnier (Keyboards, programming); Pino Palladino (bass); Youssoupha Camar, Manu Katche, (drums); Mbaye Dieye Faye, Troupe Casamance (percussion); Asasane Thiam (tama); Felix Sabal-Lecco, Andy Shafte (programming); Vinia Mojica, Tracey Amos (background vocals).
Producers include: Youssou N'Dour, Johnny $, Mac Fallows, Pierre Bianchi,
Engineers include: Phillippe Brun, N'Diaga N'Dour, Rod Beale.
Ever since Youssou N'Dour started turning heads in Senegal with his band Super Etoile, he's made the leap to world music eminence thanks to back-breaking touring and the support of famous fans like Peter Gabriel. Following a six-year sabbatical from releasing music in the US, N'Dour made a millennial comeback with JOKO (THE LINK), an amalgam of West African, Caribbean, and Western influences.
Backed by a coterie of Senegalese studio musicians, N'Dour uses his soaring vocals to great effect on stellar cuts like the hypnotic mbalax-infused "Mademba (The Electricity Is Out Again)," and the joyously uplifting "Birima." Elsewhere, N'Dour's Gabriel appears on "This Dream," a number notable for Super Etoile guitarist Jimi Mbaye making his Stratocaster sound like a traditional Senegalese xalam (five-stringed guitar). Other notable supporting players include sax player Thierno Koite, whose Branford Marsalis-like tone gives the rhythmically dark "Miss" a forlorn edge, and the percussionists who supply an upbeat aura to the tribute to Senegal's peasants that is "Beykat." Leading the charge throughout is N'Dour, whose pure, agile vocals are particularly effective on the infectious "Liggeey" and "My Hope Is in You," an eternally optimistic bilingual song.