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  • Tuesday, September 27, 2011
    Fatoumata Diawara's Debut Recording, "Kanou," Now Available in North America As Digital EP

    Fatoumata Diawara makes her North American recording debut with today's 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." Watch the video below and at nonesuch.com/media.

    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.

    To download the Kanou digital EP, head to the Nonesuch Store now. Watch the "Bissa" video here:

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Fatoumata Diawara's Debut Recording, "Kanou," Now Available in North America As Digital EP

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on September 21, 2011 - 4:22pm
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 14:00
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Fatoumata Diawara makes her North American recording debut with today's release of the digital EP Kanou. 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 Kanou digital EP includes four tracks plus the video for the song "Bissa." Watch the video here.

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Fatoumata Diawara makes her North American recording debut with today's 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." Watch the video below and at nonesuch.com/media.

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.

To download the Kanou digital EP, head to the Nonesuch Store now. Watch the "Bissa" video here:

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Fatoumata Diawara: "Kanou" [cover]

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