Oumou Sangare

About

Stylish, elegant, feisty and charismatic with a soulful, soaring voice, Oumou Sangaré has become an emblem for African womanhood and makes a striking role model. She has used her songs to campaign fearlessly to improve the position of women in Mali and to oppose polygamy, child marriage and a system that defines a ‘good wife’ as a submissive woman. “Women have a hard time in Africa. We have no voice; our men do all our talking for us,” Oumou says. “My role is to speak directly to women both through my songs and setting an example and showing them that they can make their own decisions”.


 

Artist Links: Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Wikipedia  |  Soundcloud

Areas of Representation: North America

Biography

Stylish, elegant, feisty and charismatic with a soulful, soaring voice, Sangaré has become an emblem for African womanhood and makes a striking role model. Born in 1969 in the Malian capital of Bamako, the moment that she defines as shaping her career occurred when she was just two years old: Oumou’s father took a second wife, abandoned his family and emigrated to Côte d’Ivoire.

Her mother, a singer who made her living performing at traditional wedding ceremonies and baptisms, sank into a deep depression at this desertion. But it also made her “a fighter”, a quality Oumou inherited in abundance along with her mother’s singing talent. By the time she was five, mother and daughter were singing together and by the age of thirteen, Oumou had become the family’s main breadwinner. “That’s what has given me strength in my life,” she says. “It was a very hard childhood and it gave me an incredible character. I can face up to any obstacle”.

The years of poverty and sorrow also informed her music and throughout her career she has used her songs to campaign fearlessly to improve the position of women in Mali and to oppose polygamy, child marriage and a system that defines a ‘good wife’ as a submissive woman. “Ever since I was a kid, I promised myself that one day I will scream about this problem to the whole world,” she says.

It was no coincidence that her first album was titled Moussolou (the title means ‘women’); or that her next album, Ko Sira, included a song titled “Dugu Kamalemba” (which translates as ‘the skirt-chaser’); or that the title of her third album, Worotan (meaning ‘ten kola nuts’) was a reference to the price of a bride in an arranged marriage.

Her mother’s spirit continues to inspire her music and one of the key songs on her latest release, Mogoya, is “Minata Waraba” (‘Aminata the Lioness’), a tribute to her maternal courage and resilience. “Women have a hard time in Africa. We have no voice; our men do all our talking for us,” Oumou says. “My role is to speak directly to women both through my songs and setting an example and showing them that they can make their own decisions. I was the first one who started to speak out about correcting the inequalities and injustice that women still endure in Mali.”

 

Tour Dates

Future Tour Dates

View Tour History


Videos

News

  • Songlines Music Awards 2018 Nominees! Congratulations to two Riot Artists performers who have each been nominated in multiple categories for the Songlines Music Awards 2018!

    Oumou Sangaré: Best Artist; and Africa & Middle East
     

    Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino: Best Group; and Europe
    We wish them luck in the awards ceremony in October!


Press

One of the great queens of Malian music – ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE


An object lesson in how to update the West African Sound” – FINANCIAL TIMES


Mogoya se situe parmi les grands disques de la musique africaine – MAGIC


ARGUABLY today’s greatest African diva…

Splendidly attired and effortlessly charismatic, Sangaré displayed marvellous expressive fluency spanning myriad techniques and timbres, from dazzling melismatic suppleness to sustained, soaring intensity.” – THE SCOTSMAN


La plus grande des chanteuses africaines” – LES INROCKS

Downloads/Media

Technical Riders:

Oumou Sangare Rider: Download (pdf)



 

Press Photos (High Resolution):