Posts Tagged ‘fatoumata diawara’
Royal Festival Hall, London, March 8
I’ve been to many memorable concerts in the Royal Festival Hall, but few as special as this. Fatoumata Diawara, from Mali, having been a newcomer (and awarded in our Songlines Music Awards last year) has become a mature artist. She strode onto the stage with stature – elegantly dressed in red and yellow robes and turban. It was International Women’s Day and every mention of the fact drew applause. But Fatoumata has also become a musical ambassador.
As the South Bank’s artistic director Jude Kelly pointed out in her introduction, Fatoumata has recently pulled together many of the top Malian stars to record ‘Mali-ko’, a peace song for Mali and speaks for the women of Mali in many of her songs. ‘Moussou’ is a song paying tribute to the women of Mali – “women give birth to rich people, poor people, heads of state” – and she said she hoped to see a female president of Mali one day. Seeing the success of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia and Joyce Banda, President of Malawi – and given the current situation in Mali – one hopes it’s not too long.
Towards the end of her set, Fatou took off her turban and started dancing, flinging her head backwards and forwards, sending her beaded hair flying. One of her new songs, ‘Tounkan’, was a celebration of African women and African dance. Fatou neatly demonstrated the rhythmic and dance links between her native Wassoulou region and other styles in Ethiopia, Morocco, Congo, South Africa and more. “We are from the same African roots”, she said. The only disappointment was a muddy sound on the electric guitars, which would have been gorgeous if the musical lines had rung out clearly.
“We all come from Africa,” said Angelique Kidjo, in what made a natural progression from Fatou. Angelique, from Benin via New York, just exudes stage presence – she’s tough and pugnacious after Fatou’s stately elegance, punching above her weight. She entered singing solo, followed gradually by her band on piano, percussion, bass and guitar. The topics of her songs include freedom, education and the horrendous custom of female genital mutilation. She paid tribute to her father who encouraged his daughters to do what they wanted to do and paid tribute to Miriam Makeba, a role model for Angelique, who used music to further a cause.
Kidjo took a circuit through the audience and then invited them on stage – much to the disquiet of the security guys – for some joyous final numbers, including her signature song ‘Agolo’ (which features on our Songlines Music Awards CD). Fatou returned in casual civvy clothes and many other girls from the crowd did spectacular dancing to Mamadou Sarr at the front of the stage on djembe. It really was a night to remember.
Ethiopian-born singer-songwriter Meklit Hadero plays three special shows next week
Co-founder of The Nile Project and a prominent figure in the UN Women’s campaign for gender equality in Africa, Meklit Hadero was born in Ethiopia and raised in the US, where her musical talent has been nurtured for the last few years in San Francisco. As a deeply committed social and cultural activist, she has created a collective of young artists of the Ethiopian diaspora.
Meklit will be performing at for free at London’s Southbank Centre on Friday, March 8 at 5.30pm as part of the WOW (Women of the World) Festival. The evening will also see Fatoumata Diawara and Angeliqué Kidjo take to the Royal Festival Hall stage.
During the performance, Hadero will be drawing together the Amharic melodies of Ethiopia, her African hip-hop project CopperWire and her own original songs. Hadero is also appearing on Woman’s Hour this week (BBC Radio 4, Thursday March 7, 10am) and also recording a World on 3 session for future broadcast.
In the next issue (April/May 2013, #91), we will be taking a trip down the Nile to find out more about The Nile Project and the musicians involved, including Meklit Hadero and Dina El Wedidi
Meklit Hadero’s London dates:
Thursday, March 7 The Vortex, Dalston
Friday, March 8 Women of the World Festival, Southbank Centre
Sunday, March 10 Dahlak, Stockwell
Refugee Action are urging the public to get their culinary mitts on and cook up a storm with family, friends, and neighbours to celebrate global food, music and culture. The Songlines team are already converts. Not only is this a prime opportunity to show off your cooking prowess, but also a chance to raise a significant amount of money for Refugee Action. To find advice and ideas on hosting your event click here.
UK singer-songwriter Adjoa Owusu provided us with a guest blog on Tuesday, where she discussed her relationship between music and food.
We are also very excited to announce that if you subscribe to Songlines, not only will you be able to choose one of our Songlines Awards Winners’ 2012 CDs as a free choice (includes Anoushka Shankar, Tinariwen, Fatoumata Diawara and The Goat Rodeo Sessions feat. Yo-Yo Ma & Chris Thile), but we will also be donating £5 to Refugee Action for every subscription that is bought.
Southbank Centre, March 6-10 2013
Women of the World (WOW), the annual global festival that celebrates women across the world, returns to the Southbank Centre this March. A programme of debates, performances and concerts seek to both highlight the achievements of and restrictions facing women today. Established and emerging female talent will be showcased alongside one another throughout the festival – from politics to fashion, health to music.
Friday’s festivities fittingly coincide with International Women’s day (March 8), and offer the opportunity to enjoy an evening at the Royal Festival Hall with West African singers Angélique Kidjo and Fatoumata Diawara.
Kidjo has received a multitude of accolades, among them a Grammy Award and a place in the Guardian’s Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World. Described by Time magazine as ‘Africa’s premier diva,’ Kidjo has collaborated with Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys and Amadou & Mariam amongst others.
Fatoumata Diawara’s first album, Fatou was heralded as the Sunday Times No 1 world music album of 2011, and she was – of course – winner of our Newcomer Award in the Songlines Music Awards 2012, appearing in our winner’s concert at the Barbican late last year.
Look out for an exclusive chance to win a pair of tickets to this evening in next week’s elist.
Saturday March 9 will see Grammy Award winner Susana Baca performing tracks from her latest album, Afrodiaspora, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The Afro-Peruvian singer’s album explores Africa’s vast influence on Latin American music, and received five stars from Songlines (#77).
Sign up for our bi-weekly elist here.