Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

(b 1968, Bamako, Mali) A songwriter and today's foremost female singer of West Africa, strongly influenced by her mother. Aminata Diakhite, also a singer. She sang her first concert aged six at Stade de Omnisports, Bamako; joined the National Ensemble of Mali (an important grounding for Malian musicians) and toured Europe in 1986 with the Djoliba percussion troupe. She is linked inextricably with the Wassoulou song form (which see), which she helped to define from her first album Moussolou ('Women') through Ko Sira ('Marriage Today') to the international success of Worotan ('Ten Kola Nuts', the traditional bride price in Mali), all CDs on World Circuit, as well as a track on Stern's compilation Women Of Mali (Vol. 1). Her brand of Wassoulou combines traditional acoustic instruments with some Western influence (James Brown's horns on Worotan), but this is a progression, not a dilution, combining politics and sensuality, her forthright views on the abuse of traditional Muslim polygamy striking a common chord for women with an international resonance. She toured the USA in 1994 with an African Fête package incuding Central Park's Summer Stage.