Seductive Marriage of Ancient and Modern

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Monday June 04, 2018

From The Guardian

Fatoumata Diawara: Fenfo review – a seductive marriage of ancient and modern
By: Kitty Empire

Pierced of lip, electric guitarist Fatoumata Diawara has verve to spare, and a dynamic voice whose partial cloudiness is fundamental to its appeal. The singer released her debut album, Fatou, in 2011; an intervening aeon has seen the Mali-born, Paris-based artist act in films and collaborate extensively; “Ultimatum,” her Disclosure feature, was released earlier this month. In the wake of the discovery last year of slave markets in Libya, she recorded a powerful anti-racism track, “Djonya.”

Fenfo (“Something to Say” in Bambara) finds Diawara engaged on an outreach programme, making contemporary roots music about themes that range from the specifically African – Kanou Dan Yen lambasts the tradition that stops different ethnic groups intermarrying – to the universal. “Don Do,” the album closer, finds Diawara aching about unrequited love to a sparse accompaniment: her electric guitar and Vincent Ségal’s cello. Fenfo’s most seductive marriages of ancient and modern have already come out: “Nterini,” the lead track, and the mesmeric “Kokoro.”

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