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06/19/2017
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OUMOU SANGARÉ, MADONNA OF MALI WATCHES OVER GRAIN

Known since 1989 for her texts addressing the subjects of society that shake her country, the singer has just changed label for her new album "Mogoya", in which she continuously pursues her commitment in favor of the most deprived.

High up on her heels, she imposes. In the city as on stage. A good eighty meter surmounted by a discolored mane, pierced nose and trimmed nails, Oumou Sangaré is not the type to keep his tongue in his pocket, nor style to let himself walk on his boots, Has known well pointed. Last winter, she confided to Liberation : "The African loses its value. Before, there was no need for a contract to meet its commitments. Today, all this is threatened, and I feel that we are losing in dignity. We must preserve this knowledge that our parents have left us. When you are lucky enough to have something to say, you have to say things that educate and participate in public debate. That's why each of my records is an event in Mali:

Superb Madonna, the Malienne is above all a formidable amazon, who quickly knew how to cut short the subjects that cause concern, especially against marriages of interest, forced. These explicit statements made it the mouthpiece of a youth in crisis of identity in a country then subject to the injunctions of the restructurings of the International Monetary Fund. It will thus regularly evoke the mirage of immigration, a bad endemic of a country which, to be a rich musical pool, nevertheless lived for too long under the threshold of world dignity.

Bamako Soundtrack
Without his voice, of an overpowering natural, the echo would not have been the same. And it is true that each of its outings is watched by legions of amateurs who know its value since it published Mossoulou ("les femmes"), a tape recorded in Abidjan in February 1989, the week of its 21 Th anniversary. Less than a year later, the six titles looped in Bamako. It is the beginning of an irresistible ascent for the native of the capital, propelled like one of the unavoidable personalities of the subregion, even well beyond. Don Cherry as a scout advised her when she was not yet the muse of Oprah Winfrey, Tracy Chapman and other Alicia Keys. And Mokobé, of 113, will invite him in 2007 for the Voice of Mali ...

Adored, Oumou Sangaré nevertheless never yielded to the sirens of a badly fagotated pop, firmly anchoring its original repertoire in its original terroir, the Wassoulou, an agricultural region located on the border of three countries (Mali, Côte-d 'Ivoire and Guinea) where music rhythms the seasons and plowing: the cadence of the karignan, the metal scraper that she handles on stage, and the groove of the kamele n'goni, the customized harp of the hunters, are her brands Of manufacture. This is probably where all the pertinence of a musician who, to travel from New York to Sydney, does not forget to have her feet planted in her land. Between the lines, she also plays the soundtrack of a city, Bamako, who, since the singer's beginnings thirty years ago within the percussion ensemble Djoliba, has mutated. Just as Mali has become one of the hubs of world music, this concept born at the very moment when the singer began her career and capable of engendering the worst, we know only too well, or the best, as with she. The first recording recorded in Europe, Ko Sira remains twenty-five years later an authentic classic, directed by its fetish arranger, Massambou Wele Diallo.

With Mogoya , the Malian star changed its label, joining No Format after a quarter century at World Circuit, home to which she had entered thanks to the support of Ali Farka Touré. However, it remains faithful to its line of conduct, inscribing itself in the furrow of previous collections. For having finally recorded little in the direction of Europe, the one called by its simple first name - the privilege of the biggest - has constantly sought to test its aesthetics by crossing it with the diversity of Mali as well as with Musicians from around the world. The funkster Pee Wee Ellis and the electronic musician Nitin Sawhney as of 1996, the flutist Magic Malik and the American drummer Will Calhoun, for Seya, album of 2009 entrusted to the arranger Cheick-Tidiane Seck. There was also a deep pan-African opening, symbolized by the rolling of the drummer Tony Allen. Eight years later, the Nigerian is still there, on two titles.

Noble ancestry
The same is true of the subjects on which Oumou never ceases to return: slanders of all kinds, infidel men, the exile of Malians who still do not know the galley that awaits them after crossing the Mediterranean , The brakes of tradition, taboo subjects such as suicide ... To speak of it, she relies in pragmatic on her own example, as when she salutes the one who raised her in Minata Waraba, in other words her mother Aminata Diakité the lioness. "At 85, she is still in the fields. Seventeen hectares, it has an incredible energy! I helped her build a school in her village so that the children did not have the chance. " She did not, either, since after her father's departure in Ivory Coast, she had to resolve quickly To earn a living,

Ambassador of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), where she has been spreading the good word in rural areas or at conferences for three years, she has also been involved in social The Association of Mothers and Children of Mali and an orphanage funded for children left behind. She was also at the head of a taxi company - "200 vehicles that I brought! But the young people have broken everything! So, I stopped everything " -, and dealer for 4 x 4 made in China. For fifteen years, she has been the owner of the Wassoulou Hotel, nestled along one of the famous "tar" (main roads) of Bamako, and a farm that borders the Niger River, on the outskirts of this capital that swells . A brand of rice also exists in his effigy, Oum Sang: "I started importing it from Asia, but this year I decided to grow on the spot." First harvest in 2017. Just as she recently set up a music festival in her region, It intends to develop well. Its motto: "In Mali, however, we walk on gold!" - what she repeats in the song Mali Niale .

Vision iconoclast
Oumou Sangaré, a goodwill woman with a well-informed businesswoman, is on all fronts: "I try to bring my little stone to build this country." It is his way of remedying the situation of " A country put under pressure by the jihadists. There is no question of letting oneself be enclosed. She is resolutely optimistic, like the big smile she says on the cover of her new album. It appears revamped by the Congolese JP Mika, one of the revelations of the exhibition "Beauté Congo", at the Cartier Foundation in 2015. What perfectly prefigure the soundtrack, originally developed at Stockholm, before the trio Albert, based at Pantin, was in charge of rebuilding everything. "After recovering the tapes, We chose to keep as many traditional elements as possible, while putting more air in a music where everyone plays all the time. " Known for having worked as well as controllers for Alain Souchon and Air that Tony Allen and Luz Casals, the three experts (Ludovic Bruni, Vincent Taeger and Vincent Taurelle) had the mission to bring their vision, rather iconoclastic. Bruni and Taeger specify their project: "It is a question of associating references that seem a priori remote, even if to endanger the artist. In the case of Oumou, she fully trusted us. She was ready to make productions shifted from the expectations of her audience, so much so that on Yere Faga, we kept only her voice and Tony's drums! The title, all in suspense, traces new horizons, But is acclaimed by the Malian public. "My music needed this change. I want to make dance differently the young people of Bamako, " comments the main interested, now grandmother of a small Oumou. "Next year, I will celebrate my 50th birthday. This is the beginning of the beginning. "