In turn, the Malian woman Oumou Sangaré has put her apprehensions or reticences aside by giving a more western appearance to her music on Mogoya , her fifth album in more than 25 years of career. The woman who is both a diva and a businesswoman crosses this Rubicon-like stream that some of her compatriots like Amadou & Mariam or Salif Keita have already spanned in the past.
RFI Musique: In March 2015, you were in studio in Stockholm, to start working on this new album with the Swedish producer Andreas Unge. What happened next ? What is the story of this album?
Oumou Sangaré : It was a long work, with lots of twists! We left to work in Stockholm with Swedish musicians and this starting work was very useful in order to build a solid foundation for the album. After almost two weeks of recording there, we did a second session in Paris, where we recorded voices, percussion, and Tony Allen's drums. Then, Cheick Tidiane Seck helped me record all the choruses. That was in Bamako. At that time, we were ready to mix, And having confirmed the decision not to release this album on the World Circuit label (with whom Oumou worked since 1990, NDR) , my manager went to the No Format label, which wanted to go further in production instead of mixer. I was surprised but I trusted. In the end, I loved the result, and we ended up mixing the album with Bertrand Fresel ( Philippe Katerine , Bernard Lavillier s, The Great Sophie ... NDR) . Is addressed to the No Format label, which wanted to go further in production instead of mixing. I was surprised but I trusted. In the end, I loved the result, and we ended up mixing the album with Bertrand Fresel ( Philippe Katerine , Bernard Lavillier s, The Great Sophie ... NDR) . Is addressed to the No Format label, which wanted to go further in production instead of mixing. I was surprised but I trusted. In the end, I loved the result, and we ended up mixing the album with Bertrand Fresel ( Philippe Katerine , Bernard Lavillier s, The Great Sophie ... NDR) .
Did the album look like in your mind what it is today?
At the very beginning, I was surprised by the change, I said to myself: "Wow ?!" Today, I really like the album. It's a pleasure to play the songs on stage too! This has brought about a positive change, something very balanced: a very modern direction that does not distort the traditional sound of Wassoulou.
Did you wish to work with the musicians of ALBERT, who have distinguished themselves with Sébastien Tellier, Air , Phoenix ...?
Producer Laurent Bizot contacted Vincent Taurelle, Ludovic Bruni and Vincent Taeger - the musicians of the ALBERT collective - to rework the first recorded base in Stockholm and Paris. When I started this album, I wanted to do something with my brother Tony Allen. He did miracles on Mogoya ! It is a monument of African music ... He has no age when he plays! I have worked with many talented musicians in my career, but this sound and arrangement is new to me!
Did you let the musicians of ALBERT or did you give them directions?
I trusted their ear and their know-how. The only indication was that I wanted to make an album that speaks to Malian youth; Give to think and make them dance. Many young people tell me: "We want to dance on Oumou"! I wanted a modern and dancing sound that respects my culture and my traditions.
Being a business woman , is it a way to make music just "for fun"?
No, music is not just for fun, it's all my life. The music is in me all the time, 24 hours a day! Business is above all to show concrete examples. After 20 years of my career, I found it necessary to take action: the Wassoulou hotel in Bamako, where I invested, a car dealership with Oum sang cars and a ten-hectare pilot farm. We emancipate ourselves by becoming independent.
You have been one of the founding members of the Amazones d'Afrique , a group that seeks to raise awareness of the cause of women in Mali: have mentalities changed since the beginning of your career in your country , Over the last few decades?
Yes, there are a lot of changes. I observe an awakening of consciousness, women are organized, they are standing, more autonomous and active in many fields such as micro-finance. I always continue to denounce their problems and encourage them to work, to make themselves useful in their homes and in their countries. The woman can do it all!