Fatoumata Diawara is an Ivory Coast born Malian singer/songwriter who currently resides in Paris, France. In 2011, she released her first full-length album, Fatou singing in the Malian native language of Wassoulou while also accompanying herself with acoustic guitar. This wonderful acoustic world music album features West African drummer Tony Allen, virtuoso kora player Toumani Diabaté, and Led Zeppelin bass legend John Paul Jones.
On Fatou, Diawara serenades her listeners with stories about love, war, abandonment, childhood, freedom, and female circumcision (Boloko). Here are the song titles of the album:
1. Kanou (“Love”) 2. Sowa (“A Malian cry”) 3. Bakonoba (“Mr. Big Belly”) 4. Kele (“War) 5. Makoun Oumou (“Just Keep Quiet”) 6. Sonkolon (“Malian name”) 7. Alama (“Another Malian name, song about Hell”) 8. Bissa (“What To Do?”) 9. Mousso (“Woman”) 10.Wililé (“Arrogant Girl”) 11. Boloko (“Female Circumcision”) 12. Clandestin (“Illegals”)
In the opening line of the closing song “Clandestin” (Illegals) Diawara states
“The fault lies…/with Europeans,” seems to be a political message weaved in and out throughout the record. Also, on her standout single, “Sowa” Fatoumata notes
“Please excuse me, in the name of God, as I want to express myself/I’m addressing all mothers worldwide raising a child is not easy.” These two mantras embody the spirit of what Fatou represents as an internationally recognized gift of music. If you get a chance to listen to Fatoumata Diawara, DO IT! She is a phenomenal vocalist and guitarist, and an incredible songwriter. Some artists I would compare Fatoumata Diawara to would be Tracy Chapman, Angelique Kidjo, Asa, and Bobby Womack (who she has perfomed and recorded with).
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