Following the release of her third album “London Ko”, we met with the flamboyant Malian singer-songwriter to talk all things music.

Fatoumata Diawara | Qobuz Interview


She’s come a long way since Fatou, her debut album in 2011, on which we see her smiling as she plays the guitar. Fatoumata Diawara was signed to the British label World Circuit (Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré) from the start, and her career has since taken her across the world. In a series of collaborations with the much-loved Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn and Frenchman Matthieu Chedid, the Malian interweaves genres - blues, electro, rock, Afropop, and traditional music from Wassoulou - without diluting an ounce of her identity, quite the contrary. Fatoumata Diawara wears her Mali proudly as a standard bearer, between her guitar playing, her choice of instruments such as the kora, and her singing exclusively in Bambara. As for women, she fervently defends their rights in her lyrics and represents them on stages the world over.

After Fenfo, on which Vincent Ségal’s cello was featured, the diva returns with London Ko, a bridge between London and Bamako, between tradition and modernity, between Damon Albarn’s synthesizers, which we find on the production of six tracks, and the ancestral instruments of Mali culture. It’s a new kind of music, composed naturally and instinctively. In this interview, she talks about her genesis, her personal struggles, her artistic choices and discusses the future of Mali’s cultural heritage.