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This review is from: SEYA (Audio CD)
'SEYA', meaning 'joy', Oumou Sangaré's new CD, is a delight to listen to. You can also dance to it! In the title song her a warm and even seductive voice celebrates her Mali audiences and fans who she has been entertaining for many years. The eleven songs have a common feel, yet are also quite distinct. A treasure to have and play over and over again.
For me, with SEYA Oumou has reached new heights in musical excellence. While she has continuously performed in Mali since her last CD, Oumou, and also produced a CD for the local market only, we have had to wait six years for a new recording. It was worth the wait for sure! Internationally, Oumou Sangaré had moved into the spotlight and become a household name for Mali music since 1989 with her CDs 'Moussoulou', Ko Sira, and Worotan(1996), my favourite among the earlier recordings.
Oumou is one of the best known female voices and artists from Mali. She brought Wassoulou music to the international stage. The distinct Wassoulou sound comes from a ethnic region that spans part of South western Mali and neighbouring regions in Guinea and Ivory Coast. The tunes are rooted in traditional griot music, often performed by strong female voices, such as Oumou Sangaré and carrying social messages. Oumou Sangaré, like many other Malian vocal musicians in the 'griot' tradition, takes her popularity as a responsibility to raise social concerns, in particular concerning women, such as forced marriages, polygamy, the need for harmony in domestic partnerships as well as respect for elders and community solidarity.
Staying true to her musical style and addressing the important social themes that have always been her preoccupation, the music is also innovative, vibrant and affecting. Her voice has matured and is even richer than before. For this collection, she has assembled an impressive team of backup performers and vocalists, complementing harmoniously her often soft and gentle voice. In partnership with Cheikh Tidiane Seck, who arranged some of the pieces, she has produced a really exquisite album. [Friederike Knabe]