One of West Africa’s most beloved chanteuses Oumou Sangare is coming to the Miami Beach Bandshell (7275 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33141) for an exclusive concert during Afro Roots Fest on March 30, 2024, beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are now on sale for the show featuring selections from her 2023 release Timbuktu at bit.ly/ARFMB2024Sangare; reserved seating is available and all ages are welcome. This is the 26th season of Afro Roots Fest, and additional concerts scheduled in March and April for Miami Beach, Gainesville, Jupiter, and Islamorada.
In March 2020, shortly after the International Wassoulou Festival (FIWA), an event Oumou launched in 2016 to promote her birth region in southern Mali, the artist traveled to the United States. She’d only planned to stay only a few weeks but then COVID lockdown struck, first in New York, then in Baltimore, a place where she quickly felt at home. “Something in that city drew me in straightaway. I felt so good there that I bought a house!” Once settled into her new abode, she spent her days writing songs with the help of an old friend, Mamadou Sidibé, who has been Oumou Sangare’s kamele n’goni (traditional lute) player since the very beginning of her artistic career.
This period of enforced seclusion gave birth to ten of the eleven songs on Timbuktu. The album weaves intimate sonic connections between traditional West African musical instruments associated with the blues, most notably the kamele n’goni and its distant heirs, the Dobro and slide guitar. “Since 1990, I’ve never had a chance to cut myself off from the world and devote myself exclusively to music,” she says. “I think you feel it in the music, but also in the lyrics which are fruit of all those moments when I was able to withdraw into myself and meditate.”
Timbuktu consecrates this artist who rose up from the ghettos of Bamako, Mali’s capital, to become a global superstar and internatonal feminist icon. The first single “Wassulo Don” was issued March 8, also known as International Women’s Day, on World Circuit Records. The track fuses Oumou’s distinctive Malian sound and voice with elements of blues and rock to create a joyous groove. It’s Oumou’s an expression of hometown pride for Wassulu, an area in the south-western corner of Mali where Oumou’s family originates from.
Since the release of her debut album Moussoulou in 1989, there’s been no respite for the Malian singer. Notable waymarks on her rich and fruitful journey include some of the most definitive recordings in the history of contemporary African music: “Ko Sira” in 1993, “Worotan” in 1996 and “Seya” in 2009, the latter nominated for a Grammy Award. Counting among her many notable fans Alicia Keys, Aya Nakamura and Beyoncé (who sampled the classic “Diaraby Nene” for her 2019 Lion King release), Sangaré has long since broken through barriers that separate continents and musical styles.
She also released the singles “Sarama” and “Sira“. Click here to learn more about the artist; high resolution images are available here. Event support provided by Florida Division of Arts and Culture, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, and the City of Miami Beach.
For more information, visit AfroRootsFest.com or contact the Miami Beach Bandshell at 786-453-2897.