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Fatoumata Diawara

North America

Hailed as one of the most vital standard-bearers of modern African music, singer, songwriter, and guitarist Fatoumata Diawara is taking her artistry to fresh and thrilling heights. Boldly experimental yet respectful of her Malian roots, Fatoumata’s music defines her as the voice of young African womanhood – proud of her heritage but with a vision that looks confidently to the future. Her live performances “scream with energy” (NPR), her stage presence both “hypnotic” and “captivating” (Rolling Stone). Fatoumata’s most recent release, Fenfo, is a set of vivid and original new compositions that draw on the rich experiences and musical adventures she’s enjoyed in recent years. A modern day storyteller, Fatoumata covers such timeless subjects as respect, humility, love, migration, family and how to build a better world for our children in her music. “Don’t sing just to sing,” she emphasizes, “sing to change things, to make things better.”

As a singer, actress, songwriter, and activist, Fatoumata has shared her message and experience with audiences all over the world. With performances at Glastonbury and other major festivals, Fatoumata has also worked with some of the biggest names in contemporary music. She recorded with Bobby Womack and Herbie Hancock; assembled a West African super-group featuring Amadou and Mariam, Oumou Sangaré, and Toumani Diabaté to record a song calling for peace in her troubled homeland; climbed aboard Damon Albarn’s star-studded Africa Express, which culminated in her sharing a stage with Sir Paul McCartney; and performed with countless other esteemed musicians such as Omara Portuondo, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Habib Koité, Roberto Fonseca, and Rokia Traoré. In fact, it was fellow Malian songstress Rokia Traoré who encouraged Fatoumata to pick up a guitar, a suggestion that opened the door to her career in music.