tue 23/05/2017

Interview: Oumou Sangare, Soul Rebel | reviews, news & interviews

Interview: Oumou Sangare, Soul Rebel

Interview: Oumou Sangare, Soul Rebel

On the road with Africa's greatest diva

The hunters can make a buffalo appear out of nowhere and mud turn into water.
Oumou Sangare: Feminist divad Allcock

Oumou Sangare, Malian diva and one of the world’s great singers, is not, as I eventually found out myself, a woman to be trifled with. When she bought some land outside Bamako, the capital of Mali, a local official by accident or oversight also sold the land to someone else who planted the fields. Sangare turned up with a bulldozer and destroyed the man’s crops. She also had a quiet word with the President of Mali and got the offending official sacked. I could easily imagine Sangare in her preferred garb of traditional colourful African robes and Parisian stilettos in the driving seat of a bulldozer – she’s chic, tough and is a woman who bridges the divide between cosmopolitan and traditional Africa.

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Love the Malick Sidibe photos - what a shame the fuzzy and occasionally badly cropped reproductions above don't do the great photographer justice. Sounds like a fearsome lady not to be crossed.

Agree...we should do a Maick Sidibe special and try and get an interview with him. As for Oumou being fearsome - I think the phrase is "doesn't suffer fools gladly" and she had be fairly tough to make it in that environment. Fantastic artist though and a lot of fun as well.

That phrase usually stands as a byword for 'totally intolerant'. But I guess she is a diva, so if Gheorghiu can get away with it, why shouldn't she. As for interviewing Malick, he went to my friend Sophie's fabulous mud hotel in Djenne to do a shoot - they're the best of pals, so I'm sure that unless you're flying into Bamako some time soon, she'd do a wonderful job...but this is to discuss between ourselves. He still has the same very humble studio in the city.

You gotta love old school divas really. I was invited to Bamako for a Toumani Diabate interview - but this now will happen in London, a bit less excitingly. Toumani was in hospital there last week with malaria, so they postponed the launch of his new album with the late Ali Farka Toure. Do email me regarding your friend in Djenne: peter.culshaw@theartsdesk.com

Oh, Toumani Diabate - now there's a legend. As for malaria, I hope it's not too serious: everyone who lives in Mali expects to have at least a couple of spells of it - I know Sophie has - after which they carry on as usual. Will send you the link to her captivating blog Djenne Djenno.

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