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Baker's Dozen

Listening To The Messages: Oumou Sangaré's Favourite Albums
David McKenna , July 10th, 2019 08:36

Malian musician Oumou Sangaré speaks to David McKenna about her favourite music, being discovered by Ali Farka Touré, and collaborating with Alicia Keys and Tony Allen


Ali Farka Touré – Niafunké
Touré revolutionised Malian music. He was also one of the earliest fans of Oumou Sangaré. When my album Moussolou came out, he went everywhere with it. Wherever he went on tour, he had the cassette of the album with him. And as he was listening to me all the time, Nick from World Circuit said "She's got a great voice, who is she?" Ali said "She's the big hit in Bamako right now, and she's my favourite singer." So one day Nick came to Bamako to see Ali and he heard my voice everywhere he went, in all the streets of Bamako. So he was blown away, and decided he wanted to do something with me. So Ali is someone who did a lot for the music of the north, and for Mali in general. 

I love Niafunké because he went back to his studio in the village of Niafunké to record this album, it was a return to the source. 

You can hear the link to the blues very clearly.

Yes, I mean he's playing the rhythms from here, he's not playing American rhythms, he's playing the traditional music of Niafunké. And that means it was blacks who carried that rhythm with them from there.