Oumou

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Fans of Mali's Songbird, Oumou Sangaré, have been waiting for new music from this charismatic singer - it's been nearly seven years since Worotan, after all. But her dearth of recordings is made up for with this two-CD set, comprising a best-of from her three World Circuit albums from the '90s and 8 other songs, some from a Malian recording which was never released internationally. One, "Mogo Te Diya Bee Ye," dates from 1994 and is classic wassoulou music: a hypnotic melody cycles through hunter's harp kamalengoni and metal scrapers while Oumou characteristically speaks her mind; the chorus repeating "You can't please everyone." It's followed by the jarring ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Fans of Mali's Songbird, Oumou Sangaré, have been waiting for new music from this charismatic singer - it's been nearly seven years since Worotan, after all. But her dearth of recordings is made up for with this two-CD set, comprising a best-of from her three World Circuit albums from the '90s and 8 other songs, some from a Malian recording which was never released internationally. One, "Mogo Te Diya Bee Ye," dates from 1994 and is classic wassoulou music: a hypnotic melody cycles through hunter's harp kamalengoni and metal scrapers while Oumou characteristically speaks her mind; the chorus repeating "You can't please everyone." It's followed by the jarring "Magnoumako," one of six songs from the cassette-only Malian release, Laban. This is Malian radio music, a side of Sangaré that international fans seldom see. Drippy keyboards distract momentarily from this song Sangaré wrote about her mother's abandonment with six hungry children. But her soaring voice and the sure rhythms of guitarist Baba Salah more than compensate for the uncharacteristically overproduced track. "Yala," which kicks off with a keyboard/guitar/kamalengoni mix reminiscent of Stevie Wonder's "Master Blaster Jammin'," seems to crackle forth like some sub-Saharan radio broadcast, with an insistent electronic dance beat and horns. The electronics are in effect on a remix of "Djorolen" and "Ne Bi Fe" which sound like Portishead on a trip to Bamako. At the other end of the spectrum is "Wayeina," a traditional song from Mali's north and a concert staple. The style is similar to that of the north's favorite son, Ali Farka Touré; dry and evocative of the hardscrabble landscape, it features another virtuoso turn by Baba Salah and njurka one-string fiddle. Likewise, "Maladon" is rich with strings, with a sunny, Bollywood feeling. "Laban," which Sangaré's own insightful album notes describe as a big hit in Mali, is spot-on, though, and those who have not heard the 12 previously released, remastered tracks here will find a worthy introduction to their new favorite African singer.
All Music Guide - Sean Westergaard
Following Worotan, Oumou Sangare's third album for World Circuit, she decided to take some time to devote to her family and also to focus her efforts on bettering her own country rather than continuing her path to international stardom. After nearly eight years since that last stateside release, World Circuit is reintroducing her with the Oumou compilation. But this is much more than a simple "greatest-hits" package, as six of the tracks come from Sangare's most recent album, released on cassette only in Mali in 2003, and two others are previously unreleased. Sangare is not only a fabulous singer with a great band, she is an important social commentator, addressing many aspects of Malian society with a forthrightness never before heard from a Malian woman. Her basic sound is rooted in Wassoulou, a modernized version of an ancient hunters' musical tradition, which featured the kamalengoni, a six-stringed African harp. Sangare blended that with violin, electric guitar, bass, and her powerful, passionate lyrics, taking Mali by storm in the early '90s. As time went on, she incorporated some outside influences, but never abandoned her deeply Malian sound. In fact, some of the material from the most recent cassette release is virtually indistinguishable from her first album. On the other hand, she successfully integrated Pee Wee Ellis and his horn arrangements on Worotan, and while the drum programming on "Yala" might be a bit disconcerting at first, she points out in the liner notes that the song was intended as a message for young people, and where better to get that message out than the dancefloor? That song and "Ne Bi Fe," with its almost trip-hop flavor, represent the only real stylistic departures on the collection. The intelligent, non-chronological sequencing makes the collection flow nicely. Informative liner notes outline the origins of Wassoulou as well as Sangare's history, and Oumou herself provides track-by-track commentary. This is a great package of amazing music from one of Mali's most important artists.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/24/2004
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597982725
  • Catalog Number: 79827
  • Sales rank: 149,620

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Oumou Sangare Primary Artist, Vocals, Choir, Chorus
Pee Wee Ellis Tenor Saxophone
Jean Toussaint Tenor Saxophone
Colin Bass Bass
Brehima Diakite Kamalngoni
Nabintou Diakite Choir, Chorus
Boubacar Diallo Guitar
Massambou Wele Diallo Percussion, Bolon
Chris Haig Violin
Graeme Hamilton Trumpet
Mike Mondesir Bass
Guy N'Sangue Bass
Winston Rollins Trombone
Ibrahima Sarr Djembe
Nitin Sawhney Guitar
Frank Tontoh Drums
Alima Toure Choir, Chorus
Aliou Traore Violin
Brice Wassy Drums
Mike Williams Flute, Alto Saxophone
Amadou Ba Guindo Bass
Benogo Diakite Choir, Chorus
Thomas Dyani Percussion
Paul Jayasinha Trumpet
Everton Nelson Strings
Malik Mezzadri Flute
Abdouleye Fofana Flute
Baba Salah Guitar
Basidi Keita Djembe
Catherine Browning Strings
Simon Burwell Keyboards
David E. Williams Strings
Ramata Diakité Choir, Chorus
Jacqueline Norrie Strings
Coco Mbassi Choir, Chorus
Tata Diakite Choir, Chorus
Zé Luis Nascimento Percussion
Oliza Choir, Chorus
Kassini Sidibe Kamalngoni
John Smart Strings
Zoumana Tereta Violin
Julia Daar Choir, Chorus
Technical Credits
Pee Wee Ellis Horn Arrangements
Oumou Sangare Arranger, Composer, Liner Notes
Jerry Boys Engineer, Mastering
Massambou Wele Diallo Arranger, Producer
Lucy Duran Liner Notes, translation
Nick Gold Producer, Executive Producer
John Hadden Engineer
Mark Peters Engineer
Amadou Ba Guindo Arranger, Producer
Boncana Maïga Producer
Tom Leader Mastering
James Thompson drum programming
Pierre Houon Engineer
Michel Lorentz Programming
Baba Salah Arranger
Traditional Composer
Voncana Maïga Arranger, Artistic Director
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