Skip to Navigation
Fatou cover art

Track Listing

Click tracks with speaker icon to listen
5Makoun Oumou4:35

News & Reviews

  • Fatoumata Diawara Launches North American Winter Tour

    Fatoumata Diawara returns to North America for a month-long winter tour of Canada and the US. This leg opens with a six-city tour through Canada, starting in Alberta tonight, followed by stops in Ontario and Quebec. The US run begins February 7 with shows in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, and California. Diawara will be joined by fellow Malian musician Bassekou Kouyaté for several shows. She returns to the States to perform at the Savannah Music Festival in April on a double bill with Bombino.

  • Savannah Music Festival 2014 to Feature Punch Brothers, Chris Thile, Fatoumata Diawara, Bombino

    The Savannah Music Festival has announced the line-up for its 25th anniversary season, to be held March 20–April 5, 2014, and among the artists scheduled to perform are several familiar to readers of the Nonesuch Journal: Punch Brothers; Chris Thile, in a duo concert with fellow mandolinist Mike Marshall; and Fatoumata Diawara and Bombino sharing a double bill for two shows.

About this Album

Singer/songwriter Fatoumata Diawara’s debut album, Fatou, will be released in North America by World Circuit / Nonesuch Records on August 28, 2012. Diawara, who was raised in Mali and now lives in Paris, has been receiving rave reviews since the album’s release in the UK and Europe last year. The Telegraph calls her “the most beguiling talent to hit the world music scene in some time” and says “this stylish debut doesn’t put a foot wrong,” while the Times of London says “the air of wistful, understated beauty draws you in,” and Mojo calls her a “spell-weaving new voice.” The album was #1 on the European world music chart for six months. Watch the official video for the album track "Bissa" below.

Diawara fought her parents’ opposition to her artistic career, and her culture’s attitudes toward women, to act in theater and film before beginning her musical career. She sang backup for, among others, fellow Malian and labelmate Oumou Sangare before striking out on her own.

Diawara uses elements of jazz, pop, and funk along with her ancestral Wassoulou tradition in her songwriting and arrangements, accompanying her voice with rhythmical guitar playing and her own percussion work. Her lyrics touch on such serious and personal subjects as female circumcision, a woman’s right to choose her spouse, and the songwriter’s own painful experience with the African practice of being raised away from her parents.

John Paul Jones (bass), Toumani Diabate (kora), and Tony Allen (drums) all make guest appearances on Fatou. Damon Albarn and Herbie Hancock also have shown their appreciation for Diawara’s music; she has performed with Africa Express, AfroCubism, and Hancock’s Imagine project. In addition to her own constant global touring, Diawara performed as part of Albarn’s new project Rocket Juice and the Moon this past fall. (Albarn’s super-group features himself, Tony Allen, and Flea.) Diawara played a main role in the live shows and is featured on several tracks on the studio album of the same name. She also recorded a track with soul veteran Bobby Womack for his album The Bravest Man in the Universe.


A World Circuit Production
All songs by Fatoumata Diawara
Produced by Nick Gold and Fatoumata Diawara
Recorded by Sonny and Marc Loisel
Recorded at Livingston Studios, London, and Popcorn Lab, Paris
Additional recording by Lucas Chauviere, Boris Persikoff and Christophe Marais
Mixed by and additional production by Sonny
Mixed at Livingston Studios, London
Assistant recording and mix engineer Dan Ingall
Mastered by Guy Davie at Electric Mastering
Additional mastering by Tony Cousins, Bernie Grundman, Jerry Boys and Tom Leader

Artwork by House @ Intro
Cover Photograph by Youri Lenquette

Fatoumata Diawara, vocals (1-12), guitar (1, 3-12), calabash (1), shaker (1, 4-6, 11), clave (4), oudou (5), karyniang (11), claps (12)
Ousmane Keita, kamel ngoni (1)
Boris Persikoff, keyboard (1)
Alioune Wade, bass (1, 10)
Guimba Kouyate, guitar (2, 10), ngoni (5, 6, 11)
Seb Rochford, drums (2, 5)
Sonny, bass (2)
Moh Kouyate, electric guitar (3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12)
Seb Rochford, drums (3, 11)
Sola Akingbola, percussion (3), congas (4, 8, 9), drums (8)
Hilaire Penda, bass (3, 5, 9, 11, 12)
Madou Kone, calabash (4)
Jon Grandcamp, drums (4, 10)
Leon Richard, bass (4)
John Paul Jones, bass (6)
Thomas Grommaire, guitar (8)
Papus, bass (8)
Tony Allen, drums (9)
Toumani Diabate, kora (10)
Francis Arnaud, drums (12)


This album is available from Nonesuch in the United States and Canada only.

Please install the Adobe Flash player in order to see this content.