News & Reviews
- Thursday, March 28, 2013
Fatoumata Diawara, whose debut album, Fatou, was released in North America last summer on World Circuit / Nonesuch Records, kicks off a month-long US tour with an Afropop Spectacular with Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, California, on Saturday. The 13-city tour includes a two-night run in Seattle, shows in Chicago, Minneapolis, Austin, Albuquerque, El Paso, New Orleans, and sets at the Houston and Louisiana International Festivals. Diawara returns to the US later this spring to perform at Bonnaroo.
- Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The line-up for the 2013 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has been announced, and included among this year's performers are four artists familiar to readers of the Nonesuch Journal: Björk, Amadou & Mariam, Bombino, and Fatoumata Diawara. The four-day festival takes place in Manchester, Tennessee, and runs June 13–16. Tickets go on sale Saturday, February 23, at noon EST.
About this Album
Fatoumata Diawara makes her North American recording debut with the September 27, 2011, release of the digital EP Kanou on World Circuit/Nonesuch Records. Inspired by Wassoulou tradition, jazz, and blues, Diawara has created her own unique contemporary folk sound, giving a distinctly African spin to the concept of the female singer-songwriter. "Like her mentor [Oumou] Sangaré," says the Financial Times, "Diawara combines feminist social conscience with effortless melodic charm." The Daily Telegraph calls her "the most beguiling talent to hit the world music scene in some time." The Kanou digital EP includes four tracks plus the video for the song "Bissa."
Fatoumata Diawara, a sometime star of African film, draws elements of jazz and funk into a sparse contemporary folk sound—refracting the rocking rhythms and plaintive melodies of her ancestral Wassoulou tradition through an instinctive pop sensibility. At the center of the music is Diawara's warm, affecting voice; spare, rhythmical guitar playing; and gorgeously melodic songs that draw powerfully on her own often troubled experience.
Born in Côte d’Ivoire, raised in Mali, now based in Paris, and still only 29, Diawara has had a life covering a whole gamut of contemporary African experience: fighting parental opposition to her artistic ambitions and the cultural prejudice faced by women throughout Africa, winning success as an actress in film and theater, before finding her feet in the medium she was always destined to make her own: music.
"Kanou," the opener, typifies the EP's minimal, yet sensual feel, Fatou’s yearning vocal and hypnotic picking—transposed from Wassoulou harp patterns—offset by muted Rhodes piano. "Bissa" underscores wry comment on a woman’s right to choose her marriage partner with a pared back funk grove. For complete lyrics in Bambara, English, and French, click here.
Damon Albarn, Toumani Diabaté, Herbie Hancock, and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones are just a few of the major players who have fallen for Diawara's effortless musical charm, as her presence has lit up shows by Africa Express, AfroCubism, and Hancock’s "Imagine" project. Yet her debut is almost entirely her own work: self-composed and arranged, with her own backing vocals and percussion. It breathes with the natural warmth, confidence, and spontaneity that are the essence of Diawara herself.
Fatoumata Diawara, vocals (1-4), guitar (1-3), calabash (1), shaker (1), percussion (3)
Ousmane Keita, kamel ngoni (1)
Boris Persikov, keyboards (1)
Alioune Wade, bass (1)
Abdoulaye Traore, guitar (3)
Moh Kouyate, guitars (4)
Papus, bass (2, 4)
Thibaut Brandalise, drums (4)
Thomas Grommaire, guitar (2)
Sola Akingbola, drums/congas (2)
Produced by Nick Gold & Fatoumata Diawara
This EP is available from Nonesuch in the United States and Canada only.