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Oumou Sangare

We are delighted to welcome this true giant of African music to Shambala.

Hailing from Southern Mali, Oumou began singing at a very early age and, by the time she as 13, she was the main breadwinner for her family earning money performing at street parties.  She was spotted at one of these parties and her music career started properly touring Europe with a Malian super group.  Her first solo album, “Massoulou” was released in 1989 when she was only 21 and it took West Africa by storm, not only musically, but also because of the social and political message that she expressed- a message encouraging women to seek personal freedom and dignity and a warning against the wrongs of polygamy and arranged marriages.

In 1991, the album was played, quite literally, everywhere across the region and it came to the attnetion of Nick Gold of World Circuit Records.  He quickly re-released the album to international acclaim and thus began a relationship that lasted 20 years and produced another 4 incredible and diverse albums.

In May 2017, a hugely anticipated new album will be released, “Mogoya” on a new label, No Format.  It’s eight years since Oumou Sangaré last released an album and much has changed since we last heard from the greatest living female voice in African music. The power of her voice and the potency of her message remain inviolable but with a new label, an all new production team and a vital new set of songs, “Mogoya” (roughly translates as “people today”) represents an exciting new chapter in Oumou’s career.

While her sound remains rooted deep in the continuity of Malian tradition, at the same time this is Oumou as we have never heard her before. Recorded in Stockholm by Andreas Unge, and produced in Paris with the crack French production team, Mogoya is a record that both draws upon a rich musical heritage and looks to the future. Traditional African instruments such as the kamele n’goni (harp), karignan (metal scraper) and calabash percussion are augmented by electric guitar, bass, keyboards and even synths while Tony Allen, once Fela Kuti’s band leader, guests on drums.

Oumou is an artist who is proud of her country and its diverse cultures, now recognised and appreciated throughout the world. An icon and role model for modern women she is both keen to encourage and embrace new ideas through her music whilst at the time she holds a deep respect for tradition and those who came before her.  She continues the battle to encourage equality between men and women and sings about universal themes in life such as love, death, destiny, respect for each other, hope and harmony, not forgetting a couple of light-hearted tunes about the fun things in life.

On stage her natural presence, huge charisma, irrepressible energy and joie de vivre is very much in evidence. Yet it’s her voice that holds you spellbound and this will be a show that is certainly not to be missed!