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Oumou Sangaré

Since the release of her debut album Moussoulou in 1989, there’s been no respite for the Malian singer Oumou Sangare. Notable waymarks on her rich and fruitful journey include some of the most definitive recordings in the history of contemporary African music, all released on the World Circuit label: Ko Sira in 1993, Worotan in 1996 and Seya in 2009, the latter nominated for a Grammy in the Best World Music Album category. Numerous international tours and performances on prestigious stages such as the Sydney Opera House, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan complete this roll of honour. 

Timbuktu, the first release on her own Oumsang label, is the latest act in this unparalleled musical epic, one that World Circuit has become associated with once again. It consecrates this artist who rose up from the poor neighbourhoods of Bamako to become a global superstar and universally admired feminist icon. With the powerful aura of a Grace Jones, black transgressive icon par excellence, Oumou has long since broken through the barriers that separate continents and musical styles. She was once invited by Alicia Keys to sing a duet on TV, and today, she gets held up as an example by artists as hefty as Aya Nakamura, who dedicated the song ‘Oumou Sangare’ to her in 2017, or Beyoncé, who sampled one of Oumou’s most famous creations, ‘Diaraby Néné’, for her song ‘Mood 4 Eva’, which was included in the soundtrack of the film The Lion King: The Gift in 2019. 

Oumou Sangare’s career was being driven forward at a rapid pace and without even the slightest pause when it hit a major interruption thanks to the health crisis of 2020. In March of that year, just after the International Wassoulou Festival (FIWA), an event Oumou launched in 2016 to promote her birth region in southern Mali, she went to the United States. She’d only planned to stay a few weeks but then lockdown came, first in New York, then in Baltimore, a place where she quickly felt at home. “Something in that city drew me in straightaway. I felt so good there that I wanted to buy a house.” Once settled into her new abode, she spent her days writing songs with the help of an old friend, Mamadou Sidibé, who has been Oumou Sangare’s kamele n’goni (traditional lute) player since the very beginning. 

This period of enforced seclusion gave birth to ten of the eleven songs on Timbuktu. The album weaves intimate sonic connections between traditional instruments from West Africa and those linked to the history of the blues, most notably the kamele n’goni and its distant heirs, the Dobro and slide guitar, played here by Pascal Danaë, who co-produced the album with Nicolas Quéré. From that particular period of lockdown, when time itself was put on hold, so to speak, and when both Oumou the artist and Oumou the businesswoman suddenly experienced a hitherto unknown state of isolation, far from the tumult and incessant solicitations of normal life, she pulled out the best. 

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Live Review

Farewell to a Behind-the-Scenes Festival Legend, Monterey Jazz Festival at 66

Read "Farewell to a Behind-the-Scenes Festival Legend, Monterey Jazz Festival at 66" reviewed by Josef Woodard

This year's model of the Monterey jazz festival, now up to its 66th annual, felt overall like one of the strongest and most balanced of the past decade. Salient highlights included a stunning African-flavored commissioned work, Isakoso Ara, from Ambrose Akinmusire--one of the proudest products of this festival over many years--along with a saucy and artful three-show focus on guitar great John Scofield, a strong Garden Stage set by lateral thinking pianist-composer Kris Davis, memorable sets from jazz chanteuse phenom ...

Album Review

Oumou Sangaré: Mogoya

Read "Mogoya" reviewed by James Nadal

After an eight-year recording hiatus, Malian superstar vocalist Oumou Sangaré returns to the international spotlight with a new record, on a new label, but with the same steadfast focus on African women's rights. Mogoya is her first release on the Paris-based No Format indie label, after releasing five albums over twenty years with World Circuit. Sangaré has always stayed true to her traditional music and instrumentation, so this record is a bit of a production departure, leaning towards a crossover ...

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Vermont's the Manifestivus in the Groove for 7th Year July 17 – 19 (Feat. Jazz Criminals, Oumou Sangare)

Vermont's the Manifestivus in the Groove for 7th Year July 17 – 19 (Feat. Jazz Criminals, Oumou Sangare)

Source: Shore Fire Media

Roots and World Music Festival in Cabot, VT Features Jazz Criminals, Oumou Sangare, Barrington Levy, Toubab Krewe, Midnite, and Earle “Chinna" Smith Discounted Weekend Presale Tickets Available For Just $65 through 7/6 From July 17-19, The Manifestivus (the 7th Annual Sol Harvest Festivus for the Restivus) in Cabot, Vermont will host danceable roots, world and jazz acts from all over the world. The Manifestivus is held on 93 acres of breathtaking land, 60 miles east of Burlington and three hours ...



Oumou Sangare: New Album/Tour

Oumou Sangare: New Album/Tour

Source: JamBase


Oumou Sangare Malian singer Oumou Sangare's first album in six years, Seya, will be released by World Circuit/Nonesuch Records on June 9. This summer, Sangare tours major festivals in support of the new record.

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 ...



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Self Produced



Curly Music Productions



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