Interview with Musician Fatoumata Diawara

It’s a great honour to present this interview with musician, actress and activist, Fatoumata Diawara. Born in Côte d’Ivoire to Malian parents, Fatoumata moved to France to pursue acting – she appeared in the films La Genèse and Sia, le Rêve du Python and played a leading role in the musical Kirikou et Karaba. She later began composing her own music, blending Southern Mali traditions and international influences.

Under Fatoumata’s belt is her debut album, Fatou, and her EP, Kanou. She has performed around the world and recorded with acclaimed artists including Oumou Sangaré and Dee Dee Bridgewater and recently participated in the “30 Songs / 30 Days” campaign to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women.

 

What is your passion?
Music

 

2 Fatoumata Diawara-Serena-Aurora Erotico

 

What inspired you to become a musician?
To be able to express myself in the face of injustice.

What was your biggest obstacle/challenge?
Leaving my family at the age of 19 and heading towards the unknown.

 

3 Fatoumata Diawara Phil_Sharp

 

How have you dealt with/overcome it?
By believing in humanity, love, and hope.

What is your greatest achievement?
Recording Mali-ko, because it really contributed to the comprehension of the problems that we are going through in Mali.

 

4 Fatoumata-Diawara Ellen Doherty

Where will you be in 10 years?
I do not know yet because I live one day at a time. A little too sensitive.

How does Africa inspire you?
By its simplicity and its ability to share, and by its love as well.

 

5 Fatoumata Diawara Renee Missel 2

Anything else you would like share?
My presence, with the people I love!

Anything we should look out for in the coming weeks/months/years?
Love for one another.

 

6 Fatoumata Diawara Youri Lenquette

You can purchase Fatoumata’s music via Amazon and iTunes. Follow her on Twitter, join her on Facebook and visit her website. Check out this great short interview with Fatoumata on The Guardian website.

A huge thanks to Fatoumata and to Stephen Budd for making this interview happen, and to Nagawa Lule for the translation from the French.

Images courtesy of World Circuit Records. Photo credits from top: Phil Sharp, Serena Aurora Erotico, Phil Sharp, Ellen Doherty, Renee Missel, Youri Lenquette.

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