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Grammy-Winning Singer Youssou N'Dour Appointed Senegal's Culture Minister

Youssou N'dour speaks during a united opposition rally in February.
Gabriela Barnuevo
Youssou N'dour speaks during a united opposition rally in February.

Youssou N'Dour, the Grammy-Award-winning artist best known for his singing in Peter Gabriel's hit In Your Eyes, has been appointed culture minister by Senegal's new government.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports that N'Dour was disqualified from running from president so he threw his support to the incoming president. Reporting from Bamako in Mali, Ofeibea filed this report:

Youssou N'Dour is known worldwide for his singular singing voice. Back home, his decision to run for president divided the Senegalese. Many said he should stick to music. Others backed this popular businessman and local media mogul, who has little formal education.

Senegal's top court threw out Ndour's presidential candidacy and he switched his allegiance to Macky Sall, who defeated Senegal's outgoing President Abdoulaye Wade. Ndour was once close to Wade, but condemned his decision to seek a third presidential term. Youssou, as his fans call him, is now the culture minister. He celebrated newly-sworn in President Sall's victory with a concert in Dakar this week.

N'Dour was disqualified from running for president because a court said he lacked valid signatures.

Back in 2001, Morning Edition profiled N'Dour.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.