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04/12/2017
Article
Oumou Sangare

ARTIST: Oumou Sangare
TITLE: Mogoya
LABEL: No Format
Oumou Sangare, Mali’s “Wassoulou Songbird,” is back with her first solo album in eight years. Sangare is arguably the most important feminist musical artist in Africa – her 1990 debut album Moussoulou (“Women”), addressing polygamy and erotic love from a woman’s point of view, sold 200,000 legal copies in Mali (a country of 8 million people at the time) and many times that in the pirate market. Sangare’s business interests (a Bamako hotel, her own 4X4 truck brand called the “Oum Sang,” growing and selling her own brand of rice) and a busy performing schedule have kept her out of the studio. For this record, she and her new producers have added an electronic sheen to the funky Wassoulou rhythms that drive her songs; No Format has done similar work with Malian singer Mamani Keita. The first half of the album tries several different approaches – some fail, some work and one (track 1) excels. Things coalesce on the B side: 5, 7 and 8 are similarly excellent, and the title track (9) is a beautiful electronica ballad, something unique in Sangare’s repertoire. Not her best, but an intriguing new direction for one of Africa’s crucial artists.
TOP TRACKS: 1 5 7 8 9
ALSO RECOMMENDED: 3 4 6