Artist: Viviane Ndour
Viviane Ndour (born Viviane Chidid) is a Senegalese pop singer who is the sister-in-law of Youssou Ndour. She is known by some as the "Queen of Mbalax." She has two children, a boy and a girl, with her husband Bouba Ndour.
Viviane was born in Senegal in one of the coastal cities near the Atlantic Ocean. Her music combines traditional Senegalese mbalax music with elements of U.S. rap and R&B. She released her first album in 1999 and formed a group called Le Jolof Band in 2001. Most of her songs are in either English or Wolof though a few are in French, the official language of Senegal. She is Muslim.
As of 2009, Viviane currently had two albums actively selling on the market, in grocery stores and even in the shop in Senegal's airport. Those two albums were Bataclan Cafe (being the most recent) and Man Diarra which arrived in 2005.
Bataclan Cafe contains work recorded live in concert and her monster hit "Beggue Na Lenn" (meaning "love you all" in English) which she has a video for; receiving regular spins on Senegalese television in 2007. The hit single off the 2005 Man Diara album was "Kagna La Giss". In the song she sings vibrantly about missing her loved one, and dreaming and wishing of his return. Like many Wolof songs, and as tradition in music of the region, the song builds and builds to a climax and the final verse captures her giving shout-outs to various people. In 2010 she gained her first taste of international notoriety by doing a commercial for the Ritz cracker company where she can be heard singing her song "Ta Ta Viviane!"
Other hit videos of her are tracks such as "Welcome to Africa" with Mokobe, and possibly her greatest achievement, "Cheri Boy" in which we find Viviane effortlessly blending hip-hop, R&B, Reggae, and traditional Senegalese sound all in one track. The beat of the song has a soft, smooth reggae feel, the chorus is sung R&B style, and the verses are 16 bar raps like American style hip-hop.
A story that briefly details Vivianes relationship with American music is relayed by Likembe on his blog...
"It's said that the first time Viviane heard Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody" she thought it was Americans copying Senegalese music. Her remake, "Goor Fit," featured on Entre Nous/Between Us/Ci Sunu Biir, proved to be one of her most memorable and popular songs, so naturally there had to be still another version, "Am Fit," from 2003's Fii Ak Fee (Jololi). I've always liked Aaliyah's original, but Viviane's versions take the song to transcendent new levels."
While some of her songs may borrow American styles, Viviane Ndour still stays true to her roots as a Senegalese artist. In her live shows, the songs do not follow the usual 3 to 5 minute formats of American songs. She usually has a live band, and the drum work is provided in traditional fashion as a dancer will make movements responding naturally to whatever changes in rhythm the drummer may decide to make. Unscripted, whenever Viviane decides, she will again return to the song, but much of it is separated with interaction/ad libs with the audience.