Press Clipping
04/12/2017
Article
Brilliant, Genre-Blurred African Pop Artists Thrive in Age of Xenophobia

Oumou Sangaré, one of the great queens of Malian music, was part of the project's concept, though she didn't wind up on the LP; maybe because she had her hands full with her own record, along with side hustles including a hotel, an automobile line (the "Oum Sang") and a rice brand, not to mention work with the United Nations. Since her last LP eight years ago, Sangaré left World Circuit to record with the Parisian indie No Format label, and her sound, still rooted in her Wassalou traditionalism, has become more beat-forward. "Yere Faga," a song about suicide, pairs her with Africa's ultimate drum machine, Fela Kuti's Afrobeat co-creator Tony Allen, who motors a psychedelic mix, with backing vocal bursts and Hendrixian guitar noise flashing by like comets. The video finds her in a smoky warehouse full of tires, rocking electric blue lipstick and a regal blonde weave, making a pitch for staying alive while a badass young dancer stalks the streets of Bamako, ultimately rallying her comrades from a shebeen table-top. On other tracks where the production touch is lighter, Mogoya is rooted in the sound of the traditional kamele n'goni harp, while the title track is a gorgeous blues unspooled over flickering synths and what sounds like a cello in an ice cave.