Bonnaroo Artist | Fatoumata Diawara
Bonnaroo History | Newbie
Stage & Time: | That Tent | Friday | 3PM
We’ve featured several Bonnaroo bands from outside of the U.S. so far, but Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara (sometimes shortened to simply “Fatou”) is the first artist we’ve covered that you’d likely find filed under “world music” in your record store. That’s an all-encompassing genere term, however, and, more specifically, Fatou plays a type of music called Folk Wassoulou. The French speaking (and currently France dwelling) Fotoumata initially rose to fame as a film and stage actress in her teens and twenties, before taking up guitar and developing her unique style, which blends the Malian Wassalou traditional sound with broader folk themes and global influences. Diawara’s debut album, Fatou, was released in late 2011 and contains socially and politically conscious compositions, sung in the Wassoulou language and featuring prominent West African musicians as well as John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin fame.
Though she’s perhaps more famous in her native Africa for her acting, Diawara is effectively entering the North American (and global) market as a relative unknown, and, as such, carries no pre-established weight of fame. The strength of her music and talent clearly speaks for itself, because Fatou earned the singer spots of many year-end lists and was the most celebrated and buzzed about release on the world music charts. Fatoumata’s lovely voice, musical energy, and immense passion for the message she’s conveying is strong enough to transcend language barriers and captivate any audience. Fatou is a gem on an already fantastic Bonnaroo lineup, and a singer you don’t want to miss!
Listen | “Willie”
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Watch | “Bissa'” (Official Music Video)