Malian born singer Oumou Sangare returns in 2017 with her new album Mogoya due for release on the 17 05 17. The Grammy award winning Oumou is a huge name in Africa and indeed across the globe for her quintessential vocal displays in the genre of Malian Wassolou music.
The album due for release on the French label, No Format unsurprisingly features co-production from French producers A.l.b.e.r.t. who have worked with the Scottish rock outfit Franz Ferdinand. This productive collaboration is a telling sign. In this her seventh album, Oumou (who has toured with Alicia Keys) brings an album which; captures her old faithful fan-base from her near 30 year career with albums like Moussolou (1990), introduces her to a younger contemporary audience while bringing more layers to her sound.
The lead single is Yega Negar which has an excellent video shot by Chris Saunders and features dancer Maipelo Gabang. It’s a rambunctious atmospheric intro, directly engaging a younger audience while whetting the appetite for the release of the full nine track album. The single features the legendary Afro-beat creator and drummer to Fela Kuti, Tony Allen who creates a sublime beat which could easily bless the latest hip-hop cut. Powerful totally funky bass riffs stomp with purpose throughout the track while Oumou holds us and indeed leads us into this track where she calls for ‘us’ to stay strong-on a deeper level it seeks to empower those who have contemplated suicide.
While Yega Negar introduces that younger demographic, alienation is not the order of the day and her older, faithful audience are duly rewarded with tracks like Bena Bena and Minata Waraba. These are more traditional and more reminiscent of sounds which have made her popular-the djembe and soku bringing a clear more traditional sonic sound. Djoukoura provides the high life afro-beat type sound with its up-tempo energising sonics- visions of Fela Kuti in his pomp are hard to resist. The title track appears to be the outgoing track (this may change) and it’s a perfect cut to leave you with a lasting sound of Mogoya translated as ‘people today’. Here new and old fans are privy to her vocal versatility as she soars on this guitar led contemporary number. In truth it’s hard to categorise the track but who cares the number is evocative, embodying the themes of strength and hope making this an album to inspire.