18 voices on the new album by Les Amazones d’Afrique

Growing up in the cradle of the ancient kingdom of Bamanan, with its rich ancestral culture, Rokia was naturally influenced by the area’s predominant musical heritage, specifically Bamananfoly, one of the essential strains of Malian music. Affectionately nicknamed La Rose de Bamako (The Rose of Bamako), Rokia’s music is a mix of traditional Bamanandougou rhythms and modern sounds of blues, rock, jazz. Her lyrics speak powerfully of themes of unity, social cohesion and peace.

1. Mamani Keïta

Mamani Keïta. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

MALI

Mamani Assitan Keïta was born in the city of Bamako. She did not know her father and lost her mother at the age of 13. Her maternal grandmother, Babinesitan Traoré, who raised her, was the first to notice her talents, hearing her humming as she fetched water from the well. Her grandmother said: “This one— she will make her life a great adventure”. Immediately, Mamani took her at her word and registered for the annual Art Biennial where dance troupes and musical ensembles representing the various districts of the city competed. She won the prize for best soloist in Bamako, and thus began her musical adventure. Over the years, she has performed with the great Salif Keïta, and eventually relocated to France, where she has had the opportunity to participate in many jazz and world music projects, building an eclectic collection of recorded work.

Features on: ‘Love’, ‘Smooth’, ‘Timbuktu’, ‘Dogon’ & ‘Power’

2. Rokia Koné

Rokia Koné. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

Mali

Growing up in the cradle of the ancient kingdom of Bamanan, with its rich ancestral culture, Rokia was naturally influenced by the area’s predominant musical heritage, specifically Bamananfoly, one of the essential strains of Malian music. Affectionately nicknamed La Rose de Bamako (The Rose of Bamako), Rokia’s music is a mix of traditional Bamanandougou rhythms and modern sounds of blues, rock, jazz. Her lyrics speak powerfully of themes of unity, social cohesion and peace.

Features on: ‘Queens’, ‘Red’ & ‘Dreams’

 

3. Ami Yerewolo

Ami Yerewolo. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

MALI

Known as Mali’s biggest female rapper, Ami Yerewolo has a gained continent-wide following from her high-energy performances that bluntly address issues that both her country and generation are dealing with: loyalty to family vs one’s self, nationalism vs. regionalism, women’s rights. Unafraid to rap about against sexism, injustice, and backstabbers, Yerewolo creates beats with witty, smart, and occasionally acerbic lyrics in a mix of French and the regional language of Bambara.

Features on: ‘Smile’

4. Niariu

Niariu. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

Guinée (living in Paris)

Niariu, whose real name is Tiguidanké Diallo, is a multidisciplinary artist speaking mainly through music, songwriting, dance, and style. She is a member of the music group 9Di9, formed in December 2018. Her art is greatly influenced by her mother, who is an important figure of the Guinean Fulani community in France.

Features on: ‘Heavy’, ‘Smile’ & ‘Power’

 

5. Nacera Ouali Mesbah

Nacera Ouali Mesbah. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

Algeria

Immersed in the traditional folk music of the mountains of Kabylie, singing quickly became Nacera’s passion— a visa to express herself and to cross all borders. After graduating with a degree in the arts, she was able to move to France, and through the great world music scene there, she encountered many great singers. Among them was the Algerian star Takfarinas, who, after hearing Nacera’s voice, asked her to participate in the recording of his next album. Since then, she has accompanied him on stage for all his tours, which has opened other doors for her. Nacera has also been involved in the formation of a female Algerian musical group defying all taboos, singing Chaabi music which is traditionally sung by men.

Features on: ‘Rebels’ & ‘Power’

6. Fafa Ruffino

Fafa Ruffino. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

Benin

Fafa’s musical adventure began in the arms of her Ghanaian grandmother, listening to her magical voice, surrounded by her brothers when they were children. As she grew up, she honed her vocal skills on the Cotonou music scene in Benin, and finally on an international stage with celebrities such as Mory Kanté, Lionel Richie, Faada Freddy, Hank Jones, Archie Shep, Cheick Amadou and many more. Fafa has a voice that connects soul and gospel with the traditional music of Africa, reflecting a cultural melting pot between Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

Features on: ‘Fights’ & ‘Power’

7. Kandy Guira

Kandy Guira. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

Burkina Faso

Born in Côte d’Ivoire, Kandy Guira grew up in the great cultural melting pot that is the city of Abidjan. She followed her parents to Burkina Faso, where she learned her skills on the club and cabaret scene. She first emerged as a singer with Abdulaye Cisse, one of the great names of Burkinabe music, and released her debut solo EP, Tek-La-Runda, in 2019.

Features on: ‘Sister’ & ‘Power’

8. Boy Fall & Jon Grace

Boy Fall & Jon Grace. Photo credit: Karen Paulina Biswell.

France

Nyokõ Bokbaē is a Parisian group formed by Cameroonian producer Bamao Yendé and singers Douranne (Boy) Fall and Magueye Diouk (Jon Grace). As children of the diaspora, they draw their inspiration from the African music repertoire, adding elements of English culture and RnB. Coming from the Boukan Records team, the three members of Nyokõ Bokbaē fiercely represent the Paris of today: unique, open and exciting.

Features on: ‘Heavy’ & ‘Power’

10. Nakou

Nakou. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

Mali

Aminata Drama, known as Nakou, is a Malian griot from Mouroudia, who learned music from an early age through her family. She has worked with some of the biggest names of Malian music, including Sidiki Diabate, Toumani Diabate, Basegou Kouyate and Cheick Tidiane Seik.

Features on: ‘Power’

11. Nancy Murillo

Nancy Murillo. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

Colombia

Nancy Murillo, like her home city of Cali in Colombia (famous for its women, the ‘calenas’) is vibrant, warm, beautiful, full of energy. She made her first steps on stage with the Troupe Tecepal from Cali and then toured throughout Colombia with the Teatro Experimental of Cali. An important step in her career was meeting the Sombres Heros, a group of young Parisian musicians who play Cumbia (the traditional music of Colombia) and she happily became the singer of the band bringing a specific sparkle and sincerity to the compositions.

Features on: ‘Power’

Private: Amazones Power: Track by Track

We take a look at the lyrics and meaning of the songs on Les Amazones d'Afrique's second album.

 

12. Roselyne Belinga

Roselyne Belinga. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

CAMEROON

Roselyne Belinga is a multi-disciplinary Cameroonian artist living in France. As a singer-songwriter and also visual artist and jewellery designer, she finds inspiration in words and sounds, but also pearls and semi-precious stones. Throughout her career, she has had the honour to sing with great performers such as Manu Dibango, Papa Wemba, Christophe Mae and Chimene Badi. Through her music she endeavours to find the meeting place where her soul-gospel vocal influences and African musical and linguistic sounds come together.

Features on: ‘Power’

13. Valérie Tribord

Valérie Tribord. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

FRENCH GUIANA

Valérie Tribord, originally from French Guiana, is an accomplished vocalist and dancer. She has accompanied many artists from different worlds and musical genres, including Cesaria Evora, Bernard Lavilliers, Tiken Jah Fakoly, and many others.

Features on: ‘Power’

14. Marta Domingo

Marta Domingo. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

SPAIN

Marta is a singer-songwriter and actress born in Zaragoza, Spain, where she learned the art of entertainment from an early age. Upon her arrival in Paris, she performed as a singer in Latin American and Salsa music orchestras alongside work in the world of film and theatre. She has recently launched herself as a singer-songwriter in a more intimate project inspired by the Hispanic culture that saw her birth and growth as an artist.

Features on: ‘Power’

15. Patricia Essong

Patricia Essong. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

Cameroon

Patricia Essong grew up in Cameroon and from a very young age was enriched by the music and culture around her. As a young adult, she began a successful career in a management consulting firm, but the need to express herself through music never left her. After much deliberation, Patricia took the decision to launch a career as a singer, releasing her debut solo album in 2016, on which she reclaims her Bantu cultural heritage, embellishing it with her own personal music tastes.

Features on: ‘Power’

16. Moesha13

Moesha13. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

France

Moesha13, who is already an underground icon, sings, performs, mixes and creates a unique blend of French rap and hardcore with an indisputable and sunny French touch. Most of her work is inspired by Reggaeton or dancehall, and undeniably has strong links to the hybrid club culture that draws from gadjicore, Atlanta hip-hop, gabber and even trash metal during her DJ sets.

Features on: ‘Power’

17. Valérie Belinga

Valérie Belinga. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

Valerie Belinga is a jazz vocalist originally hailing from Cameroon, who is beginning to make a positive impression on the international music scene. Very early on, Valerie discovered Caribbean, Peruvian Indian, and South African music, and was influenced by singer Miriam Makeba, alongside her father who was master of a Gregorian choir. Her voice represents the perfect combination of jazz, sacred music and African songs.

Features on: ‘Power’

18. Abby Surya

Abby Surya. Photo Credit: Karen Paulina Biswell

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Abby Surya began her career in 1984 in the band Les Redoutables, led by singer Abeti Masikini. Throughout the years, she has worked with internationally renowned performers such as Koffi Olomide, Papa Wemba, Pepe Kallé and So Kalmery.

Features on: ‘Power’

Amazones Power is out on 24 January 2020 on Real World Records. Les Amazones d’Afrique are on tour in February and March in the UK & France.

Featured Release

  • Amazones Power

    Les Amazones d’Afrique

    Released 24 January 2020

    A creative force that embraces international voices; sweet, strong harmonies that summon the rights of women and girls; a meltdown of heritage and new gen talent… Les Amazones d’Afrique are back with Amazones Power, the sequel to their widely acclaimed 2017 debut album, République Amazone.

By Online Editor

Published on Tue, 08 October 19

Further reading

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The RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards will take place in Vicar St., Dublin on 24 October 2019.

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