They sing together, but mostly they rotate the singing – and we never see them together. At least not in the video, they’re filmed separately – but by the end it seems they are at opposite sides of the same busy street. Perhaps it’s only seven seconds between them there?
They are Youssou N‘Dour and Neneh Cherry, a Senegalese singer and a Swedish singer with Sierra Leonese roots. And in the beginning N’Dour sings “Don‘t see me from a distance, don‘t look at my smile,” echoing the end of the video.
I had to look this up of course, with a little help from the translators of the internet – since – N’Dour switches between French, English and Wolof, the Western-African language that gave the world the word banana. Cherry sticks to English throughout though, it’s a small disappointment Swedish is not included in this lovely language cocktail, that reaches it’s peak when N’Dour sings about “million voices” with an accent odd enough for you to first think it’s another language.
The title refers to the seven seconds after a child is born, when they are still unaware of the folly of the world. Personally, I’m mostly interested about how this was measured and what exactly happens on second number eight. Is that when they open their eyes, see the hospital or the nurse or their parents? I don’t know.
But I do know N’Dour had a hell of a concert last week in Iceland, by all accounts – yet I’m mostly just using this as an excuse to reminiscent about what a great actress Neneh Cherry is, and what a great storyteller. She was both in Stockholm, My Love – a magical storyteller, perhaps just the right role for a singer – emphasizing the voice, hypnotizing us with the text as she shows us the streets of Stockholm.
I wrote a little about the film here (albeit only in Icelandic)– and you can also just watch – and listen – to the trailer to get an idea what I mean.
Texti: Ásgeir H Ingólfsson