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Africa - Released June 19, 2020 | No Format!

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
The aptly named Acoustic shows us a stripped back side of the queen of Malian song. Recorded in live takes over two intense days in the studio, she revisits her 2017 album Mogoya for the third time which, the following year, was remixed by the likes of St. Germain, François, The Atlas Mountain and even Spoek Mathombo. There is no electronic interference here, just Guimba Kouyaté’s sensitive guitar, her faithful musical companion Brahima "Benogo" Diakité’s kamélé n'goni and Vincent Taurelle’s organ and celesta, which were involved in the original album, enveloping the diva’s unique voice and the voices of her backing singers Emma Lamadji and Kandy Guira. The effect is stunning – never has Oumou Sangaré’s vibrant presence felt so close.Driven by this intimate atmosphere, Oumou insisted on adding two very personal tracks to the nine songs on Mogoya - two symbolic tracks from her magnificent career. Originally released in 1993, Saa Magni acts as a tribute to the late arranger Amadou Ba Guindo, one of her earliest supporters. The second added track is Diaraby Nene, without a doubt her most iconic song. Written when she was a teenager, she opens up to the emotions surrounding her first love. Breaking taboos in a traditionally patriarchal society, she’s made a few enemies but has also won the unconditional support of the younger generations and has become a leading voice for feminism, a fight she has never given up on. © Benjamin MiNiMuM/Qobuz

Africa - Released May 19, 2017 | No Format!

Hi-Res Distinctions Songlines Five-star review

World - Released January 1, 1990 | World Circuit

Following Worotan, Oumou Sangare's third album for World Circuit, she decided to take some time to devote to her family and also to focus her efforts on bettering her own country rather than continuing her path to international stardom. After nearly eight years since that last stateside release, World Circuit is reintroducing her with the Oumou compilation. But this is much more than a simple "greatest-hits" package, as six of the tracks come from Sangare's most recent album, released on cassette only in Mali in 2003, and two others are previously unreleased. Sangare is not only a fabulous singer with a great band, she is an important social commentator, addressing many aspects of Malian society with a forthrightness never before heard from a Malian woman. Her basic sound is rooted in Wassoulou, a modernized version of an ancient hunters' musical tradition, which featured the kamalengoni, a six-stringed African harp. Sangare blended that with violin, electric guitar, bass, and her powerful, passionate lyrics, taking Mali by storm in the early '90s. As time went on, she incorporated some outside influences, but never abandoned her deeply Malian sound. In fact, some of the material from the most recent cassette release is virtually indistinguishable from her first album. On the other hand, she successfully integrated Pee Wee Ellis and his horn arrangements on Worotan, and while the drum programming on "Yala" might be a bit disconcerting at first, she points out in the liner notes that the song was intended as a message for young people, and where better to get that message out than the dancefloor? (That song and "Ne Bi Fe," with its almost trip-hop flavor, represent the only real stylistic departures on the collection.) The intelligent, non-chronological sequencing makes the collection flow nicely. Informative liner notes outline the origins of Wassoulou as well as Sangare's history, and Oumou herself provides track-by-track commentary. This is a great package of amazing music from one of Mali's most important artists. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo

World - Released May 7, 1993 | World Circuit

A strong set of all-original material that has its cake and eats it too. With unobtrusive electric guitar and bass blending in with more traditional instruments like flute and djembe, it's both more accessible to modern audiences than traditional African instrumentation, and not as pop- and dance-oriented as much contemporary African music. The focus remains on Sangare's gliding singing (thickened by a couple of female backup singers) and the music's looping (but not laid-back) grooves. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo

World - Released July 22, 1996 | World Circuit

Sangare, a native of Mali, is a vocal master and talented songwriter. Her lyrics, printed in English for the liner notes, explore topics such as the subjugation of women and the flight of men to the cities from rural life. But what is truly amazing is her agile voice, slithering over complex polyrhythms and often reaching a kind of ecstatic bliss through a call and response choral structure. Also noteworthy is the contribution of the legendary Pee Wee Ellis, who leads a horn section on several tracks. © Tim Sheridan /TiVo

Africa - Released February 23, 2009 | World Circuit

If she sang in English, Oumou Sangare would likely be mentioned in the same breath as artists such as Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, vocalists who not only fashioned a unique manner of putting across in a song but directly and poignantly addressed the lives and struggles of women in their music. Sangare, arguably Mali's greatest female vocalist, writes all of her own material, and Seya features some of her strongest to date. From the opening track, the hypnotically beat-crazy "Sounsoumba," it becomes apparent that Sangare -- two decades after her debut, Moussolou -- has matured into a master of dynamics and emotion. Delivering her words forcefully, riding the rhythm, her backup vocalists responding dutifully, she suddenly turns up the heat three-quarters of the way in, goaded by a jazzy flute that explores the nuances of the melody. Courtesy of the translation in the booklet, we learn that Sangare is making the case here for harmonious living among the sexes -- while simultaneously imploring the listener to get up and dance. The pattern continues, each new tune forging its own identity while reiterating the singer's pleas for unity and understanding and a better life for all. "Wele Wele Wintou," which utilizes both Western instrumentation and native African instruments like the n'goni to create its ambience, may seem jubilant and danceable on the surface, but beneath lies an urgent call against the forced marriages so common in Sangare's culture. And the seductively cool, relatively minimalist "Mogo Kele" forgoes most percussion and relies on the local sounds of the balafon, calabash, and again, the n'goni, to provide a tranquil base over which Sangare relates her advice to make the most of one's time in this world. Sangare and producer Nick Gold employ the talents of dozens of musicians and vocalists to flesh out their ideas, but Seya never feels cluttered or less than intimate. And, even if one hasn't followed the English translations to understand what Sangare sings, it always feels important. © Jeff Tamarkin /TiVo

World - Released January 1, 1991 | World Circuit

Hailing from the Wassoulou forest region of Mali, singer Oumou Sangare helped modernize the acoustic-native mix of hunters' songs and sogoninkun dance music she grew up with. Finding her way to the city of Abidjan in 1989, Sangare cut a cassette that would eventually sell close to a quarter of a million copies; it became her debut disc, compliments of the World Circuit label. And while she would go on to cut albums with a mix of traditional and tastefully chosen Western elements, Moussoulou captures Sangare in all her sensual acoustic glory. Undulating atop a musical base featuring violin, the djembe goblet drum, a call-and-response choir, and the kamalengoni harp, Sangare daringly speaks out against such traditional practices as polygamy and arranged marriages. She fleshes out these modern views -- for Mali and many other African countries, at least -- with songs that both encourage her countrymen to recognize women as individuals and focus on a girl's struggle to reconcile old values with modern needs. A find for fans of West African folk-pop music. © Stephen Cook /TiVo

Africa - Released February 3, 2017 | No Format!


Africa - Released November 1, 2011 | Ben BD Production - Afrisun Music


Africa - Released May 12, 2017 | No Format!