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  • Saturday, July 11, 2009
    NY Times: Oumou Sangare Wows with “Half Party, Half Protest” at Central Park SummerStage
    Philip Ryalls

    Malian songstress Oumou Sangare’s Sunday performance at the Central Park SummerStage concert series in New York City is the subject of a review in Tuesday’s New York Times, in which critic Ben Ratliff writes that “the ancient lived with the new” in her set, which “started at a run and yanked you in.”

    The article holds up the song “Wele Wele Wintou,” from her latest Nonesuch release Seya, as emblematic of Sangare’s strength as both a performer and a leader, noting that she “is a singer in the Wassoulou tradition, a space in West African popular music mostly reserved for women, speaking on behalf of those who can’t.” The song’s subject matter, noted Ratliff, is “complicated: half party, half protest, invoking the joy of a voluntary wedding while inveighing against forced ones,” the kind of song that “any number of pop stars might trade a great deal to be able to pull off.”

    The review also praised Sangare’s musicianship, specifically how “using a husky low range and a fine, careful upper register, she determined the arc of the song for the band,” which featured American banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck, and offered up a performance that expanded “gracefully and intricately.”

    The only thing wrong with the performance, concluded Ratliff, was that “there wasn’t enough of it,” opining “her show had the material and the grandeur to run at twice its length.” Read the full article at nytimes.com.

    --

    On Wednesday’s All Things Considered, NPR music critic Robert Christgau reviewed Seya, declaring that Sangare is “Africa’s most important female singer.” “No major African musician has been more outspoken about women’s issues,” said Christgau, referencing the song “Wele Wele Wintou” as proof that “for Malian women, Sangare is unquestionably an inspiration.”

    Christgau also noted that the same outspokenness reveals itself in the musical settings Sangare chooses for her lyrics, saying: “I don't need to know exactly what Sangare is saying, because I'm so impressed by what she's saying it over.” He concluded that on Seya, Sangare is “claiming a sound,” drawing strength from both “proud internationalism” and her “commitment to Mali.”

    To listen to the full review and hear tracks from Seya, visit npr.org.
     
    --

    Seya was also featured in a list compiled by popmatters.com of “Recent African Releases of Note.” The article references Sangare’s status as “Mali’s most popular solo female performer,” and praises how Seya “shows off her expressive vocals.” The list also includes Nonesuch artist Rokia Traoré, who is lauded for her “soulfully hushed style” and “unique approach,” as well as a profile of Afro-pop duo and Nonesuch artists Amadou & Mariam. To read the full article, visit popmatters.com.

    --

    Sangare kicks off a short tour of Canada later this week with a performance on Wednesday, July 8, at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. She returns to the US next Friday, July 17, for the Sol Harvest Festival in Cabot, Vermont. To view her tour dates and purchase tickets, click here.

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NY Times: Oumou Sangare Wows with “Half Party, Half Protest” at Central Park SummerStage

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on July 10, 2009 - 4:56pm
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Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 00:56
Excerpt: 

Malian songstress Oumou Sangare’s Sunday performance at the Central Park SummerStage concert series in New York City is the subject of a review in Tuesday’s New York Times, in which critic Ben Ratliff writes that “the ancient lived with the new” in her set, which “started at a run and yanked you in.”

Copy: 

Malian songstress Oumou Sangare’s Sunday performance at the Central Park SummerStage concert series in New York City is the subject of a review in Tuesday’s New York Times, in which critic Ben Ratliff writes that “the ancient lived with the new” in her set, which “started at a run and yanked you in.”

The article holds up the song “Wele Wele Wintou,” from her latest Nonesuch release Seya, as emblematic of Sangare’s strength as both a performer and a leader, noting that she “is a singer in the Wassoulou tradition, a space in West African popular music mostly reserved for women, speaking on behalf of those who can’t.” The song’s subject matter, noted Ratliff, is “complicated: half party, half protest, invoking the joy of a voluntary wedding while inveighing against forced ones,” the kind of song that “any number of pop stars might trade a great deal to be able to pull off.”

The review also praised Sangare’s musicianship, specifically how “using a husky low range and a fine, careful upper register, she determined the arc of the song for the band,” which featured American banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck, and offered up a performance that expanded “gracefully and intricately.”

The only thing wrong with the performance, concluded Ratliff, was that “there wasn’t enough of it,” opining “her show had the material and the grandeur to run at twice its length.” Read the full article at nytimes.com.

--

On Wednesday’s All Things Considered, NPR music critic Robert Christgau reviewed Seya, declaring that Sangare is “Africa’s most important female singer.” “No major African musician has been more outspoken about women’s issues,” said Christgau, referencing the song “Wele Wele Wintou” as proof that “for Malian women, Sangare is unquestionably an inspiration.”

Christgau also noted that the same outspokenness reveals itself in the musical settings Sangare chooses for her lyrics, saying: “I don't need to know exactly what Sangare is saying, because I'm so impressed by what she's saying it over.” He concluded that on Seya, Sangare is “claiming a sound,” drawing strength from both “proud internationalism” and her “commitment to Mali.”

To listen to the full review and hear tracks from Seya, visit npr.org.
 
--

Seya was also featured in a list compiled by popmatters.com of “Recent African Releases of Note.” The article references Sangare’s status as “Mali’s most popular solo female performer,” and praises how Seya “shows off her expressive vocals.” The list also includes Nonesuch artist Rokia Traoré, who is lauded for her “soulfully hushed style” and “unique approach,” as well as a profile of Afro-pop duo and Nonesuch artists Amadou & Mariam. To read the full article, visit popmatters.com.

--

Sangare kicks off a short tour of Canada later this week with a performance on Wednesday, July 8, at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. She returns to the US next Friday, July 17, for the Sol Harvest Festival in Cabot, Vermont. To view her tour dates and purchase tickets, click here.

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