Fatoumata Diawara is a highly acclaimed singer, songwriter, guitarist and actress from Mali. Her journey began when she was born in the Ivory Coast and has included stints in her father’s dance troupe, as an actress on stage and screen, as a singer in Paris night clubs and as a show-stealing performer at a star-studded tribute concert at Carnegie Hall. All of these experiences inform her sophomore effort FENFO, an album born from tradition yet entirely modern and unique. The long-awaited follow-up to her 2011 debut full-length, FATOU, FENFO lives up to the promise of that debut… and then some.
FENFO was produced by France’s Matthieu Chedid and features musical assistance from the likes of acclaimed classical cellist Vincent Segal. This collection of self-penned songs includes “Nan Bel” (the album’s first single), “Koo Ko Ra,” “Don Do,” “Bognan,” and many more infectious slices of worldly wonderment. FENFO is an album that travels many musical avenues without losing any of Fatoumata’s personality – this is her voyage and we are lucky enough to be part of it.
If you are remotely familiar with the name Fatoumata Diawara, it might be because of her work with Damon Albarn’s Africa Express. Or perhaps you’ve heard her vocal contributions to albums by Cheikh Lô, AfroCubism, Herbie Hancock (his Grammy-winning Imagine Project) and Orchestra Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. In any case, you haven’t truly experienced Fatoumata until you’ve heard her talents unleashed. FENFO finds her in full flight and ready to cast her spell on you…