The greatest living female voice in African music, Oumou Sangare releases a new album Mogoya (meaning “people today”) on a new record label with an all-new production team and a wonderful new set of songs.
The power of Oumou’s voice and the potency of her message remain as strong as ever and, while her sound is rooted deep in the continuity of Malian tradition, Mogoya has a strong new sound. Co-produced by Andreas Unge in Stockholm and by the French production collective A.l.b.e.r.t. (who have worked with among others Air, Tony Allen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Beck, Franz Ferdinand) in Paris, it draws on a rich musical heritage whilst also looking to the future.
“We wanted to emphasise the raw power of Oumou’s voice and songs. We wanted to find a new modernity” says co-producer Ludovic Bruni, one of the three members of A.l.b.e.r.t. with Vincent Taurelle and Vincent Taeger. On the album, traditional African instruments – the kamele n’goni (harp), karignan (metal scraper) and calabash percussion – are augmented by electric guitar, bass, keyboards and synths with Tony Allen on drums.
As Oumou puts it, “This time round I wanted to go for more of a modern sound, to satisfy young people in Mali but being careful, all the while, to respect my culture and tradition”. The songs describe what Oumou knows best – human relationships. She addresses difficult topics with incredible frankness – jealousy, ingratitude and betrayal – never afraid to sing about the day-to-day problems faced by African society, particularly women.