12 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

When Fatoumata Diawara emigrated from West Africa to France at the age of 19, her intention was to become not a singer but an actress. Though she netted a number of film roles and distinguished herself as a member of the Parisian street-theater ensemble Royal Deluxe, she found her true calling as a musician, taking up guitar and exploring the traditional Wassoulou melodies she'd learned during her childhood in the Cote d’Ivoire. On Fatou, Diawara uses Wassoulou rhythms and melodies as the basis for a set of powerful but understated original compositions that are simultaneously subdued and emotionally resonant. Though Fatoumata sings with forceful intonation and natural authority, she rarely seeks to stun the listener with her vocal prowess. Her smoldering, low-key delivery invests songs like “Bissa” and “Bakonoba” with an air of hushed intimacy that commands attention and makes Fatou one of the most engaging collections of West African-inspired music to appear in 2012.

EDITORS’ NOTES

When Fatoumata Diawara emigrated from West Africa to France at the age of 19, her intention was to become not a singer but an actress. Though she netted a number of film roles and distinguished herself as a member of the Parisian street-theater ensemble Royal Deluxe, she found her true calling as a musician, taking up guitar and exploring the traditional Wassoulou melodies she'd learned during her childhood in the Cote d’Ivoire. On Fatou, Diawara uses Wassoulou rhythms and melodies as the basis for a set of powerful but understated original compositions that are simultaneously subdued and emotionally resonant. Though Fatoumata sings with forceful intonation and natural authority, she rarely seeks to stun the listener with her vocal prowess. Her smoldering, low-key delivery invests songs like “Bissa” and “Bakonoba” with an air of hushed intimacy that commands attention and makes Fatou one of the most engaging collections of West African-inspired music to appear in 2012.

TITLE TIME
3:53
3:08
3:15
3:08
4:36
3:31
3:35
3:04
3:18
4:50
3:34
3:59

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