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  • Friday, May 1, 2009
    Nonesuch to Release Oumou Sangare's "Seya," Her First Album in Six Years, June 9

    Nonesuch Records will release Malian singer Oumou Sangare’s first album in six years, Seya, in North America on June 9. Since its European release on World Circuit earlier this year, Seya has received critical acclaim from outlets including MOJO, The Times, Uncut, The Independent, and Observer Music Monthly, which gave it a perfect five stars and calls the record “a masterpiece.” This summer, Sangare tours major festivals in support of the new record. For tour information, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour. You can watch a video of Oumou performing the title track at nonesuch.com/media.

    Since her debut release, Moussoulou,rocketed her to national stardom in 1989, Sangare has retained her position as one of West Africa’s most outspoken artists. Her trademark Wassoulou sound is rooted in a deep attachment to the culture of Wasulu, the remote forest region in the south of Mali from which her family hails. The New York Times calls Sangare “the most important female singer in Mali today.”

    Sangare began recording Seya in the Malian capital of Bamako with a core group of the musical city’s notable artists including long time collaborator Benego Diakite on kamele ngoni (Wassoulou harp), Massambou Wele Diallo (arranger), and Neba Solo (balafon), among many others. She enlisted the Malian arranger and producer Cheikh Tidiane Seck, pushing the boundaries of Wassoulou music with a diverse line-up of guest contributors including Tony Allen (drums), Fred Wesley (trombone), Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone), and Magic Malik (flute). World Circuit head Nick Gold co-produced the record with Sangare and Seck.

    As with her previous albums, all of the songs on Seya were written by Sangare, who is known for her incisive commentary on life in Mali. Her work has especially impacted discussions of women’s issues. On Seya, Sangare explores how mortality encourages us to leave a legacy for the next generation, discuses the importance of harmony in marriage, and denounces polygamy. She also calls for parents to stop encouraging under-age marriage.

    Oumou Sangare’s albums and dynamic performances have earned her a devoted following around the world. She is sought out for collaborations by a wide range of international artists including Alicia Keys, Béla Fleck, Trilok Gurtu, and Meshell Ndegeocello.

    Upon the album's release in the UK and Europe, the Observer gave the album a perfect five stars. Reviewer Charlie Gillett wrote:

    [F]or the past 20 years, there has been an array of incomparable singers and musicians in Mali, who are one by one surfacing far beyond the borders of their land-locked West African nation. If you already have albums by Ali Farka Touré, Salif Keita, Toumani Diabaté, Rokia Traoré, Amadou & Mariam and Bassekou Kouyate, make room on your shelves for one more, this spectacular collection of songs from Oumou Sangare.

    On Seya, says Gillett, Oumou "has grown into a majestic mistress of many moods who presides over her musicians with regal confidence and occasional hints of humour." And meaningful though her lyrics are, even without translation, "the intensity and versatility of her singing are enough to make Oumou more than a match for any American you might care to pitch her against ... Has Mary J Blige ever made a record as good as this? I don't think so."

    Gillett concludes: "Just because so many of her admirers believed the incomparably gifted Oumou was capable of delivering a milestone album didn't mean that she would automatically do so. But here it is—a masterpiece. Yes, Mali really has done it again."

    Read the complete five-star review at guardian.co.uk.

    At the same time, The Times (UK) ran a feature article and in-depth interview with the woman it calls "Mali's greatest diva." Says writer Jane Cornwell: "Sangare is widely regarded as the greatest female singer in Mali, West Africa—which is saying something: the country thrums with musical talent." Read the article at entertainment.timesonline.co.uk.

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Nonesuch to Release Oumou Sangare's "Seya," Her First Album in Six Years, June 9

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on April 30, 2009 - 6:21pm
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Friday, May 1, 2009 - 14:00
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Nonesuch Records will release Malian singer Oumou Sangare’s first album in six years, Seya, in North America on June 9. Since its European release  earlier this year, Seya has received critical acclaim from outlets including MOJO, The Times, Uncut, The Independent, and Observer Music Monthly, which calls the record “a masterpiece.” This summer, Sangare tours major festivals in support of the new record. You can watch a video of Oumou performing the title track at nonesuch.com/media.

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Nonesuch Records will release Malian singer Oumou Sangare’s first album in six years, Seya, in North America on June 9. Since its European release on World Circuit earlier this year, Seya has received critical acclaim from outlets including MOJO, The Times, Uncut, The Independent, and Observer Music Monthly, which gave it a perfect five stars and calls the record “a masterpiece.” This summer, Sangare tours major festivals in support of the new record. For tour information, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour. You can watch a video of Oumou performing the title track at nonesuch.com/media.

Since her debut release, Moussoulou,rocketed her to national stardom in 1989, Sangare has retained her position as one of West Africa’s most outspoken artists. Her trademark Wassoulou sound is rooted in a deep attachment to the culture of Wasulu, the remote forest region in the south of Mali from which her family hails. The New York Times calls Sangare “the most important female singer in Mali today.”

Sangare began recording Seya in the Malian capital of Bamako with a core group of the musical city’s notable artists including long time collaborator Benego Diakite on kamele ngoni (Wassoulou harp), Massambou Wele Diallo (arranger), and Neba Solo (balafon), among many others. She enlisted the Malian arranger and producer Cheikh Tidiane Seck, pushing the boundaries of Wassoulou music with a diverse line-up of guest contributors including Tony Allen (drums), Fred Wesley (trombone), Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone), and Magic Malik (flute). World Circuit head Nick Gold co-produced the record with Sangare and Seck.

As with her previous albums, all of the songs on Seya were written by Sangare, who is known for her incisive commentary on life in Mali. Her work has especially impacted discussions of women’s issues. On Seya, Sangare explores how mortality encourages us to leave a legacy for the next generation, discuses the importance of harmony in marriage, and denounces polygamy. She also calls for parents to stop encouraging under-age marriage.

Oumou Sangare’s albums and dynamic performances have earned her a devoted following around the world. She is sought out for collaborations by a wide range of international artists including Alicia Keys, Béla Fleck, Trilok Gurtu, and Meshell Ndegeocello.

Upon the album's release in the UK and Europe, the Observer gave the album a perfect five stars. Reviewer Charlie Gillett wrote:

[F]or the past 20 years, there has been an array of incomparable singers and musicians in Mali, who are one by one surfacing far beyond the borders of their land-locked West African nation. If you already have albums by Ali Farka Touré, Salif Keita, Toumani Diabaté, Rokia Traoré, Amadou & Mariam and Bassekou Kouyate, make room on your shelves for one more, this spectacular collection of songs from Oumou Sangare.

On Seya, says Gillett, Oumou "has grown into a majestic mistress of many moods who presides over her musicians with regal confidence and occasional hints of humour." And meaningful though her lyrics are, even without translation, "the intensity and versatility of her singing are enough to make Oumou more than a match for any American you might care to pitch her against ... Has Mary J Blige ever made a record as good as this? I don't think so."

Gillett concludes: "Just because so many of her admirers believed the incomparably gifted Oumou was capable of delivering a milestone album didn't mean that she would automatically do so. But here it is—a masterpiece. Yes, Mali really has done it again."

Read the complete five-star review at guardian.co.uk.

At the same time, The Times (UK) ran a feature article and in-depth interview with the woman it calls "Mali's greatest diva." Says writer Jane Cornwell: "Sangare is widely regarded as the greatest female singer in Mali, West Africa—which is saying something: the country thrums with musical talent." Read the article at entertainment.timesonline.co.uk.

featuredimage: 
Oumou Sangare "Seya" [cover]

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