Omou Sangaré

“Music is within me, without it, I am nothing, and nothing can take it away from me! I have put my life into this record, all my life, this life in which I have known hunger, the humiliation of poverty and fear, and from which today I draw glory.” | Oumou Sangaré

Considered one of the greatest and most influential African voices, Malian singer Oumou Sangaré is deeply committed to economic and social action, particularly in support of women’s empowerment.

Oumou Sangaré is known worldwide for her vibrant and powerful music, which often carries revolutionary messages on topics like women’s rights, tradition, and poverty. Since the release of her debut album “Moussoulou” in 1989, the Malian singer’s career has not paused. Among the most significant milestones in her rich and fruitful journey are some of the most important recordings in the history of contemporary African music: “Ko Sira” (1993), “Worotan” (1996), and “Seya” (2009), the latter being nominated for a Grammy Award. With fans like Alicia Keys and Beyoncé (who sampled the classic “Diaraby Nene” for the soundtrack of the 2019 film “The Lion King”), Sangaré has long broken down the barriers that separate continents and musical styles.

Her latest album, “Timbuktu”, released in 2022 on World Circuit, is the latest act in an unprecedented musical epic, solidifying an artist who rose from the impoverished neighborhoods of Bamako to become a world-renowned musician and activist. The album weaves intimate musical connections between traditional West African instruments and those related to the history of the blues, particularly the kamele n’goni and its distant descendants, the dobro and slide guitar.

Never before have Oumou Sangaré’s lyrics reached such poetic quality, such depth. She has never been seen so inspired to express her thoughts on the unfathomable mysteries of existence, the perilous situation her country is going through at this moment, or the overall condition of African women. This shows that, despite her fame, she has not abandoned the commitment of her youth.

Category
14ᵗʰ Edition | 2023