Search - Oumou Sangare :: Worotan

Oumou Sangare
Genres: World Music, Pop
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

The 1996 recording of this powerful singer from Mali is both her most fully produced recording to date, but in a strange twist also one of her most grounded, essentially "folk" albums as well. The core African band is most...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Oumou Sangare
Title: Worotan
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Nonesuch
Release Date: 7/1/1997
Genres: World Music, Pop
Style: Africa
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 075597947021

The 1996 recording of this powerful singer from Mali is both her most fully produced recording to date, but in a strange twist also one of her most grounded, essentially "folk" albums as well. The core African band is mostly voices, with kamalngoni (a thick stringed lute), guitars, flute, and percussion in more or less traditional settings for these powerful and persuasive original songs about the social order and the place of women in the culture. The nontraditional elements are sparse and a little startling. Precise, synchronized violin and bass lines puncture the air; R&B horns (a trio led by Pee Wee Ellis) add an unexpected funk; an African guitar line suddenly takes on an electric urgency. These never detract from the rootsy feel, but rather add enhancements at once surprising and obvious. It's all in service of the songs and the voice of Oumou Sangare, whose sliding soulfulness and chilling wail are positively captivating. --Louis Gibson

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CD Reviews

Precious kola nuts indeed!
Friederike Knabe | Ottawa, Ontario Canada | 03/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Oumou Sangare's WOROTAN follows the rich tradition of Malian `griot', story-teller, music. She sings mainly about social issues, addressing traditional values as well as injustices in a very personal way. The griots have been famous throughout West African cultures as the entertainers at festivals and major family occasions, as well as the recorders of family history and the social conscience of a whole ethnic group. The griots are a special `caste' and only people from selected families are allowed to assume the role. Griots move outside the mainstream of the class society. There are any number of famous griots in the Malian music scene. Some of the songs might seem somewhat monotonous or repetitive and it is worth reading the text of the songs to understand what she is conveying to her audience. Oumou's beautiful voice is not in the forefront in all songs; she is accompanied by a women's chorus that is typical for Malian music but not necessarily the most melodious for the non-accustomed ear. Her voice though, is powerful, varying with the theme she addresses. It is particularly beautiful in the last track, a haunting song about her anguish about the world around her. A mix of traditional instruments, such as the ngoni, a one-string guitar-like instrument, the Peul flute and, of course, the essential djembe, the Malian drum, are combined with modern instruments resulting in a good variety of accompaniments. WOROTAN means `10 kola nuts', a traditional bride price. Kola nuts are in general regarded as a precious gift that is offered on many occasions. Likewise, this CD is a treasure that can be offered and enjoyed by many. For newcomers to Malian music it should be listened to a few times so that the increasing familiarity with the music allows an increase in listening pleasure."
Awesome singing and playing
Friederike Knabe | 02/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Oumou Sangare is one of the planet's superstars. She is wildly popular in West Africa. Worotan is an excellent and innovative collection of her work. It may not be as raw and immediate as her first collection "Mousoulou," but it is still essential. Recorded with session musicians (James Brown's horn amongst others) and her regular band, Oumou explores new musical ground. While the collection is experimental it does not suffer from synthesizers and get bogged down looking for a crossover hit (ala Baaba Maal's Nomad Soul). THe cd is Oumou. If you haven't fallen in love with Oumou Sangare I urge you to, her work is wonderful!"
To die for
Giulio Mario Rampelli | 06/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My experience of the album followed her concert in Seattle. Within 2 minutes of music I was weeping, my heart changed shape and grew larger. I hardly listen to anything else since then and I will serve her someday. The groove of the band is a drummer's dream, incandescent, and her off-beat phrasing loops long lines over the top. Try singing along!"