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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 S├ęgal’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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