April 13, 2024

World class intro puts Oumou Sangaré on a sound footing

The beats from what sounds like several singles seem to vie for supremacy and there’s this country twang which has me basking in the light of Sufjan Stevens. Its an incredible start and all of this provides the backbone to Oumou Sangaré’s track Kamelemba. Sangaré has a beautiful voice, standard for this kind of music, impressive nonetheless. Altogether I’m thinking of the early 90s when bands like Deep Forest were fusing African singing and chanting with trance grooves. Background vocals come shimmering in, as if someone was pulling a silver sheet over my naked back; my hairs stand on end.

James Maclaren has already reviewed the album, Mogoya, from which this single hails. He called the album driving, danceable, playful, uplifting and yet capable of such depth and seriousness. He pointed out that while the principal components remain largely traditional and instantly recognisable, the album has a modern production, provided by French outfit A.l.b.e.r.t. This so obviously speaks to my point about how Kamelemba is as much about the sophisticated beats and rhytmns as it is about Sangaré’s singing.

I plan to watch Oumou Sangaré playing Shoreditch’s Village Underground tomorrow and I’m intrigued about who will turn up. The pubs and clubs of Shoreditch are awash with fusion style music, but its usually manic beats paired to 80s classics. I’m not sure how much appetite the average Hoxtonite has for world music. If anything Oumou Sangaré playing Shoreditch reminds me of the Whirly Gigs which used to play Shoreditch Town Hall in the 1990s, Whirly Gigs being a peaceful blend of trance, tuned out and turned on hippies and world music.

Live dates

17 May LONDON Village Underground http://www.seetickets.com/event/oumou-sangare/village- underground/1071392
16 July LONDON Citadel http://citadelfestival.com/programme/oumou-sangare/
27-30 July WILTSHIRE WOMAD http://womad.co.uk/celebrating-world-weekend-womad-2017-builds- bridges-not-walls/
24-27 August NORTHAMPTONSHIRE Shambala http://www.shambalafestival.org/2017/act/oumou- sangare/

About Author