Fatoumata Diawara

Thursday - TD Bandshell / Friday - Galaxie Stage

July 4, 2013 - 10:00pm    July 5, 2013 - 8:30pm   




Fatoumata Diawara has been called “the most beguiling talent to hit the world music scene in some time” (The Telegraph) and a “spell-weaving new voice" (Mojo). NPR Music raved: "Gifted with enormous stage presence and great looks, Diawara put on a tightly choreographed set [at NYC’s globalFEST 2012] that screamed with energy and edged towards rock and funk”.

Born in Cote d'Ivoire (The Ivory Coast) and raised in southern Mali, Fatoumata grew up hearing Wassoulou music, a song style that's often considered one of the main pre-colonial precursors of the blues. In her teens, Fatoumata Diawara moved to France to pursue an acting career. There, she appeared in a handful of popular films and worked with the internationally renowned street theatre troupe Royal de Luxe. But Fatoumata really found her calling when she was inspired to sing and, encouraged by her friend Rokia Traore, took up the guitar and began to write her own songs. While singing in Parisian clubs and cafes, she met Cheikh Tidiane Seck, the celebrated Malian musician and producer who invited her to travel with him back to Mali to work on two projects as chorus vocalist; Seya, the Grammy–nominated album by Malian singer Oumou Sangaré, and Red Earth, the Grammy-winning Malian project by American jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater. After the albums were released, Fatoumata toured worldwide as singer and dancer with both artists.

Fatoumata later completed an album’s worth of songs and started recording demos for which she composed and arranged all of the tracks, in addition to playing guitar, percussion and bass and singing lead and harmony vocals. An introduction from Sangaré resulted in a record deal with World Circuit and the recording of her 2011 debut album.

The album shows that Fatoumata Diawara is one of a growing number of musicians who are developing a sort of contemporary pan-folk sound that incorporates influences from across a broad Afro-Western cultural spectrum: Jazz, pop and funk all inform her songs, along with the sounds of Diawara’s ancestral traditions. Uncut gives Fatou four stars. The Washington Post says "her well-crafted songs are quietly powerful."