Oumou Sangaré: The Songbird of Wassoulou

Oumou Sangaré: The Songbird of Wassoulou

“Music is the most efficient way to convey messages and touch people.” – Oumou Sangaré

Highly celebrated and Grammy award-winning Malian singer, composer and diva Oumou Sangaré is out now with Mogoya Remixed via Nø Førmat. The album includes remixes from amongst others Sampha, Krizbeatz, St. Germain and Auntie Flo.

Oumou Sangaré was born in Bamako, Mali in 1968, and started her musical career at an early age by singing traditional songs from the Wassoulou region of Mali. She recorded her spectacular debut album Moussolou (meaning ‘Women’) at only 20 years old. The album was a big hit in West Africa, and Oumou became a global superstar soon after. The anticipated 2017 album Mogoya was her first in eight years and praised as a “landmark release” by NPR, stating that “Sangaré’s irresistible voice enhances her music’s power to disarm critics and make defenders of outmoded traditions think twice.”

Oumou Sangaré continues to bring the Wassoulou culture and traditions to a global audience. She’s also a successful businesswoman and an activist who champions women’s rights and emancipation, known for her outspoken efforts to fight child marriage and polygamy in her home country.

She is, for so many reasons, considered to be the greatest living female voice in African music.

TIDAL invited her to present ’5 Albums That Changed My Life’. Have a listen to the playlist with some her most essential tracks as well as an exclusive guest playlist. “Those are some of my favorites tracks by artists who inspired, influenced, advised or touched me – all generations considered,” Oumou says about the wonderful selection. It is with great pride we welcome Oumou Sangaré.

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5 Albums That Changed My Life

Coumba Sidibé – Wary

At 5 I won a contest that was organized in Bamako. I’ve performed in front of a crowd of 6,000 at the Omnisport Stadium while singing a cover of Coumba Sidibé and imitating this gifted singer. She influenced me as a pioneer and true Ambassador of Wassoulou’s music scene.

Fela Kuti – Shakara

I used to party and dance a lot to Fela’s music as well. It reminds me joyful souvenirs. The album Shakara contains two long, great and heady songs. I love Afrobeat:) I’m a big fan of Nigerian music in general. I like the new generation too. We invited my brother Tony Allen to play on my last album, Mogoya. It’s always a pleasure to work with him.

Ali Farka Touré – Ali Farka Touré

Ali Farka Touré has been one of my mentors. As I often said, he advised me and taught me to survive in the music industry, giving me force. His huge body of work inspired me. Ali Farka Touré was a model for Malian artists and brought our rich culture abroad, highlighting the roots of blues music. I have listened a lot to Ali’s music.

The Wailers – Burnin’

Bob Marley inspired me and represents a main influence. I used to sing and dance a lot to Bob Marley as a child but without understanding the lyrics. I especially loved “Get Up Stand Up.” When people translated and explained me the lyrics, I played the song over and over. This song inspired me a lot to pursue my career and struggles to improve women’s conditions. Bob Marley changed the world with his music. Music is the most efficient way to convey messages and touch people.

Miriam Makeba – Miriam Makeba

I could add other Miriam’s albums on the list:) I love Miriam Makeba. She is a true role model. She was brave and embodied the pan-Africanist spirit. She is a fighter who struggled against apartheid until her last breath and never gave in to pressure. In 1986, I saw her perform in France. I was touring with the Djoliba Percussion band at the time.

Photo: Benoit Peverelli/press

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