September 23, 2022 21:00
Festival au Désert
Oumou Sangaré is renowned worldwide for her vibrant and powerful music, which often features revolutionary messages about women’s rights, tradition and poverty.
Since the release of her debut album “Moussoulou” in 1989, there’s been no respite for the Malian singer. Notable waymarks on her rich and fruitful journey include some of the most definitive recordings in the history of contemporary African music: “Ko Sira” in 1993, “Worotan” in 1996 and “Seya” in 2009, the latter nominated for a Grammy Award. Counting among her many notable fans Alicia Keys, Aya Nakamura and Beyoncé (who sampled the classic “Diaraby Nene” for her 2019 Lion King release), Sangaré has long since broken through barriers separating continents and musical styles.
Timbuktu is the latest act in this unparalleled musical epic, consecrating an artist who rose from the poor neighbourhoods of Bamako to become a world-renowned musician and a vocal activist.
The album weaves intimate sonic connections between traditional West African instruments and those linked to the history of the blues, most notably the kamele n’goni and its distant heirs, the Dobro and slide guitar. Sangare’s lyrics are poetic and deep: never have we seen her so inspired to deliver her thoughts on the indecipherable mysteries of existence, the perilous situation that her country is going through right now or the general condition of African womanhood, all proof that despite becoming so powerful, she hasn’t renounced the belief and commitment of her youth.
Music is within me, Oumou declares. Without it, I’m nothing, and nothing can take it away from me! I’ve put my life into this record, my whole life–this life in which I’ve known hunger, the humiliation of poverty and fear, and from which today, I draw glory.
Festival au Désert Firenze is one of the events of Estate Fiorentina 2022.
The concert is part of the Florence Art Week programme, an initiative dedicated to artistic production and contemporary experimentation within the International Biennial of Antiques.