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Fatoumata Diawara - "The most beguiling talent to hit the world music scene in some time",
This review is from: Fatou (Audio CD)The autumn leaves are falling, you go to work in the dark and return in the dark and the winter chill seems poised to enter our lives. Why not therefore get a final blast of summer before the permafrost descends by purchasing this vibrant feast of Malian music from the brilliant Fatoumata Diawara who recently stole the show on Jools Holland. Hailing from Southern Mali and singing in her native Wassoulou language, Diawara determined to make it as an actress in Paris but found that the draw of music proved a far stronger primal urge. The loss to the Thespian profession is music lovers massive gain since "Fatou" is a stunning record full of colour, verve, rhythm and excitement. It is one of the best African music LPs you will hear but it is also much more than that. The swirling melodic guitars of this record combined with the multilayered vocals show a real soul/funk sensibility at work combined with lyrics which we are told pulse with the concerns of social justice not least denouncing arranged marriage and female circumcision. What some might see as a language barrier in terms of lyrical understanding actually adds to the sheer beauty of the record since it makes for an entrancing backdrop and the musical force of the songs carries all in their wake.
The laid-back funky opener "Kanou" is a fine start with its hypnotic vocal and pulsating bass interwoven with gentle acoustic guitar lines which dance around the song like a summer breeze. The second song in is "Sowa" which is irresistible and hugely commercial, indeed it is surprising that Western singers are resisting the temptation to draw inspiration from this deep well. One song which might just be the "first amongst equals" in album of standouts is "Bakonoba" which David Byrne would have died to record in Talking Heads and which draws in music from across the Atlantic in terms of the intoxicating mix branded with the label AfroCubism. It is utterly infectious and the African guitar playing the best this side of Tinarwaren . The mood quietens for the sumptuous guitar ballad "Alama" which was such as show-stopper on Jools Holland where you can see the elegant Diawara in all her glory. Another song "Willie" also plays to the more tender side of Diawara and the sheer emotion and range of Fatoumata Diawara's voice demonstrates a force of nature at work. The good old Daily Telegraph has described Diawara as "the most beguiling talent to hit the world music scene in some time". On the evidence of the entirety of "Fatou" and songs such as the brilliant closer "Clandestin" we are seeing yet another music artist from Mali poised for world domination which would be just reward for one of 2011's best albums.
PS Can I thank One more opinion for pointing out a silly typo in this original review posting.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Oct 2011 10:20:15 BDT
Mr. S. Muscutt says:
I saw this review and totally agree with your comments, the 'final blast of summer' made me smile !!
Please would you email me (email@example.com) or reply to this post as I need to chat to you in more detail....
In reply to an earlier post on 16 Oct 2011 12:42:21 BDT
Red on Black says:
Mr Muscutt - Many thanks for your kind comment. If you want more details of this album please let me know. Cheers RoB
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Oct 2011 11:41:05 BDT
C. Fielden says:
Have had the EP for some time after she toured with Staff Benda Bilili earlier this year. A very worthy addition to my collection of Malian music. Thanks for spreading the word with your review
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