Song of the Day: Oumou Sangaré – Djoukourou

Photo by Benoit Peverelli

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Djoukourou” by Oumou Sangaré from the 2017 album Mogoya, out on No Format! Records.

Oumou Sangaré – Djoukourou (MP3)

A lot can happen in eight years. For one of Mali’s leading female singers, Oumou Sangaré has kept busy pursuing her ventures as a business tycoon, a women’s right activist, and reinventing herself as a musician – all divinely demonstrated on her 2017 album Mogoya. Hailing from the same West African country as talents like Ali Farka Touré and Songhoy Blues (also from Bamako), the unbridled soul of Sangaré’s polyrhythmic music full of polyphonic voices seems to radiate from both a transcendent power over political strife and a celebration of life and tradition. Sometimes known as The Songbird of Wassoulou – both a cultural region and a genre typically only performed by women – Oumou Sangaré typifies a feminist-forward message like Tunisia’s Emel Mathlouthi, rallies around social issues like Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene, and brings home the dance-demanding Afrobeats like Nigeria’s William Onyeabor.

Under the supervision of French co-producer Ludovic Bruni and the Paris production team ALBERT, Oumou Sangaré’s Mogoya (meaning “Today’s People”) harbors a new direction of poppy, on-repeat-worthy tracks like “Yere Faga” that features Tony Allen – the Afrobeat guru himself – who played with Fela Kuti for twenty years. A song carried by its groovy jubilee like “Djoukourou” makes you want to clap along with the large, clap-sounding percussion, jump up and down during the Arabic-scale guitar hammering, and sing along with the call-and-response pattern of singing that is as brilliantly textured and vibrant as African-patterned textiles. Another great perk to “Djoukourou” is that you’ll get to hear a range of Wassoulou traditional instruments, like the kamale ngoni (African harp), in a well-crafted fashion.

You can check out more about Oumou Sangaré on her Facebook page. Plus, get another taste of her spirited sounds with the music video for “Kamelemba” — off her 2017 album Mogoya — below.

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