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Pitchfork: 8.1 for Oumou Sangare's "Seya"; Songs' "Dynamic, Vibrant Character" Matches Her "Towering" Vocals

  • Monday, July 27, 2009
    Pitchfork: 8.1 for Oumou Sangare's "Seya"; Songs' "Dynamic, Vibrant Character" Matches Her "Towering" Vocals

    Oumou Sangare was among the performers at this past weekend's WOMAD festival at Charlton Park in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England, as were label mates Youssou N'Dour and Rokia Traoré. BBC Radio 3 has coverage from the festival, which you can listen to now and for the next few days at bbc.co.uk.

    The Daily Telegraph gives the festival four stars. Reviewer Mark Hudson says Sangare "took easy control" of her slot on Saturday. "Wreathing her airy voice around her band’s funky harp-based rhythms," he writes, "she built to a rapturous finale that was equal parts ancient savannah tradition and shameless showbiz grandstanding—and had the large crowd baying for more." Read more at telegraph.co.uk.

    ---

    In the set, Sangare performed songs from her recent World Circuit / Nonesuch release, Seya. The album receives an 8.1 rating from Pitchfork. "She's earned her place among West Africa's musical elite," writes reviewer Joe Tangari, "and Seya should solidify her place abroad as well, with its seamless mix of old and new sounds that give her an arresting, sometimes haunting backdrop for her confident vocals and activist lyrics, sung in several languages."

    Tangari goes on to examine the multitude of multinational musical contributors to the album; Seya's rich, layered lyrics; and a few standout tracks, concluding:

    You could probably listen to just the instrumental backing tracks to most of these songs and come away satisfied by the richness of the interlocking rhythms and the subtle harmonic shifts. Even slow tracks ... have a dynamic, vibrant character that perfectly matches Sangare's sometimes towering vocals. She knows how to accent a phrase, unleashing a powerful wail at key moments to drive home a thought in a way that makes her passion clear in any language.

    Read the full review at pitchfork.com.

    ---

    Dusted magazine's Miki Kaneda says the album's title, Seya, which translates as "Joy," is an apt one, as it's "a sentiment that rings true every time the songbird of Wassoulou opens her mouth. It's the kind of profound joy that's jubilant but restrained, forceful but calm, and determined but never aggressive or out of control. Sangare's commanding alto is sultry, thick and silky smooth, but never detached—rich not just in texture, but meaning as well."

    Kaneda goes on to describe the music on the album as "layered and polyrhythmic," and, in naming some select tracks, cites one with "a high energy Afro-funk groove that doesn't quit."

    The review, too, calls attention to the many stellar musicians who contribute to the album, like Tony Allen, Neba Solo, Pee Wee Ellis, and Fred Wesley, but is sure to point out that this "army of additional voices never get in the way of Sangare's vaunted voice," concluding that with Seya, "Sangare continues to find ways to experiment with traditional sounds and fluidly move between styles."

    Read the review at dustedmagazine.com.

    Journal Articles:Reviews
on July 27, 2009 - 2:05pm
Excerpt: 

Oumou Sangare was among the performers at this past weekend's WOMAD in the UK. BBC Radio 3 has coverage from the festival, and the Daily Telegraph says Oumou's set found her "wreathing her airy voice around her band’s funky harp-based rhythms," building "to a rapturous finale." Pitchfork gives her new album, Seya, an 8.1, praising "its seamless mix of old and new sounds." Dusted says the album's title, which means "Joy," is an apt one, as that's "a sentiment that rings true every time the songbird of Wassoulou opens her mouth."

Copy: 

Oumou Sangare was among the performers at this past weekend's WOMAD festival at Charlton Park in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England, as were label mates Youssou N'Dour and Rokia Traoré. BBC Radio 3 has coverage from the festival, which you can listen to now and for the next few days at bbc.co.uk.

The Daily Telegraph gives the festival four stars. Reviewer Mark Hudson says Sangare "took easy control" of her slot on Saturday. "Wreathing her airy voice around her band’s funky harp-based rhythms," he writes, "she built to a rapturous finale that was equal parts ancient savannah tradition and shameless showbiz grandstanding—and had the large crowd baying for more." Read more at telegraph.co.uk.

---

In the set, Sangare performed songs from her recent World Circuit / Nonesuch release, Seya. The album receives an 8.1 rating from Pitchfork. "She's earned her place among West Africa's musical elite," writes reviewer Joe Tangari, "and Seya should solidify her place abroad as well, with its seamless mix of old and new sounds that give her an arresting, sometimes haunting backdrop for her confident vocals and activist lyrics, sung in several languages."

Tangari goes on to examine the multitude of multinational musical contributors to the album; Seya's rich, layered lyrics; and a few standout tracks, concluding:

You could probably listen to just the instrumental backing tracks to most of these songs and come away satisfied by the richness of the interlocking rhythms and the subtle harmonic shifts. Even slow tracks ... have a dynamic, vibrant character that perfectly matches Sangare's sometimes towering vocals. She knows how to accent a phrase, unleashing a powerful wail at key moments to drive home a thought in a way that makes her passion clear in any language.

Read the full review at pitchfork.com.

---

Dusted magazine's Miki Kaneda says the album's title, Seya, which translates as "Joy," is an apt one, as it's "a sentiment that rings true every time the songbird of Wassoulou opens her mouth. It's the kind of profound joy that's jubilant but restrained, forceful but calm, and determined but never aggressive or out of control. Sangare's commanding alto is sultry, thick and silky smooth, but never detached—rich not just in texture, but meaning as well."

Kaneda goes on to describe the music on the album as "layered and polyrhythmic," and, in naming some select tracks, cites one with "a high energy Afro-funk groove that doesn't quit."

The review, too, calls attention to the many stellar musicians who contribute to the album, like Tony Allen, Neba Solo, Pee Wee Ellis, and Fred Wesley, but is sure to point out that this "army of additional voices never get in the way of Sangare's vaunted voice," concluding that with Seya, "Sangare continues to find ways to experiment with traditional sounds and fluidly move between styles."

Read the review at dustedmagazine.com.

Publish date: 
Monday, July 27, 2009 - 10:00
Article Type: 
featuredimage: 
Oumou Sangare "Seya" [cover]

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