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A Dynamic Voice in Afropop

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Wednesday May 16, 2018

From PopMatters

‘Fenfo’ Proves Fatoumata Diawara Is One of the Most Dynamic Voices in Afropop
By: Adriane Pontecorvo

Fatoumata Diawara translates the title of her new album Fenfo as “something to say”. It makes for as accurate a title as she could pick; Diawara holds nothing back as she sings about love, family, tradition, and identity over smooth melodies rich with a variety of strings – kora, ngoni, electric guitar, cello – and crisp, clear beats. Her voice is at the forefront of it all, lyrical and engaging, more brilliantly subtle in its emotion than perhaps it ever has been before.

[…] A dozen songs give Diawara a dozen chances to try something new. She takes each one, owning every piece, merging old and new as she calls on both her history and her creativity to put together an album that showcases the whole of her.

Diawara’s 2011 debut album, Fatou, was coffee shop ready. Intimate and sweet, Diawara could have kept making that record over and over again to critical acclaim had she so chosen. As appealing as the easy route may be, though, she blazes a whole new path on Fenfo, and it pays off. Diawara’s know-how, musicality, and sense of self all come together, and Fenfo proves her to be one of the most dynamic voices in Afropop today.

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