Arts & Entertainment

OUMOU SANGARE – SENYA

Five albums in 20 years is hardly what one could call prolific. Especially for an artist considered to be her country’s greatest female vocalist and voice. But it is in entirely in keeping with who Oumou Sangare is that she should walk away from her singing career for a while to have a family and focus on things domestic. Hence her releases come in her own time. Album number five appeared mid-year, and Senya contains some of Sangare’s most developed sounds and lyrics to date. Writing all her own material and focusing on the lives and struggles of women in Mali and Africa today (and these struggles are many), Sangare has crafted another album of importance. While the translation booklet with the CD allows you to follow her struggles, her calls for harmonious living amongst the sexes, and her fight against forced marriage; her work with producer Nick Gold has produced sounds that are both sensuous and danceable, both seductive and jubilant. They haven’t been afraid to use Western instrumentation to get their message across without ever getting in the way of an album that is undeniably African in feel and origin. As with all great music, you don’t need to understand the words Oumou Sangare is singing to get the feeling behind the message, her intent is clear and her voice is one of the most important on the world’s oldest continent.

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