Fatoumata Diawara is a rarity among Malian singers, wielding her electric guitar to write songs that blend Wassoulou folk music, spiritually centered Afropop, and desert blues. Singing mostly in Bambara, the national language of Mali, Diawara sings about migration, African identity, motherhood, and the struggle of African women. A veteran of the screen and stage, she debuted as an actress in the ‘90s, appearing in films such as Cheick Oumar Sissoko’s La Genèse and the Oscar-nominated Timbuktu. Since her 2011 debut LP Fatou, she’s collaborated with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Bobby Womack, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz), who co-produced her latest album London Ko. In 2019 she became first Malian artist to perform at the Grammys, where she was nominated for Best World Music Album for her 2018 record Fenfo (Something to Say).
This performance is part of Timbuktu Grooves: The Princeton African Music Festival, presented by Princeton University’s Department of Music.