Watch Youssou N’Dour’s Lost Performance of ‘Nelson Mandela’ – Premiere
In 1986, Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour titled his second album Nelson Mandela, and its title track voiced support for the anti-apartheid leader who was still imprisoned at the time. Two years later, he sang that track on every date of the legendary 1988 Amnesty International Human Rights Now tour, which also featured Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Tracy Chapman.
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The tour’s organizers filmed N’Dour’s set on the last date of the tour in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and had earmarked his performance of “Nelson Mandela” for inclusion in a concert film of the tour. The seven-minute clip shows N’Dour encouraging the audience to clap their hands and sing along with him as his band dances behind him, and it ends with N’Dour leading a line dance. Ultimately, they shelved it in favor of two more recent songs at the time – and since then, N’Dour’s rousing rendition of “Nelson Mandela” has sat in a vault, waiting to be rediscovered.
When news broke that Mandela had passed away, producer Martin Lewis – who has been compiling a DVD box set of Human Rights Concerts from 1986 to 1998, titled ¡Released! – remembered N’Dour’s performance. He went back to the archives and digitally restored the footage, which he released for the first time ever today, and you can watch here exclusively.
Lewis is currently arranging for the clip of N’Dour, who was appointed Senegal’s minister of tourism and culture last year, to be added to the theatrical screening of the Human Rights Concerts at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday night. It would coincide with Human Rights Day, as well as the official memorial for Mandela.
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