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One of West Africa's truly great voices
To the gig-going, record-buying public of Western Europe, Oumou Sangare's been a long time away. She's been a tad busy - running her own hotel back home in Bamako, setting up a farm, being a UN Ambassador and (as all rock stars do, of course) importing 4x4 vehicles from China for sale. But fear not. Her eye is still firmly on the ball when it comes to making some of the most seductive and modern music ever to come out of West Africa. Many years in the waiting, her latest record Seya has been universally acclaimed as the masterpiece her talent always promised. The fiercely upheld feminist agenda remains intact, as does her seamless amalgam of ancient and modern styles and rhythms. And she's still dazzling live - as Charlie Gillett put it in The Observer, she's "a majestic mistress who presides over her musicians with regal confidence". One of this weekend's must-sees.
(Biography by Nige Tassell and Image by Ed Alcock)