Les Amazones d’Afrique celebrate the beauty of imperfection on new single ‘Flaws’

The all-female African supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique, a collective which has included some of the biggest stars in African music, kickstart 2024 with their infectious new single, ‘Flaws’.

Opening with an in-your-face iconic 808 drumbeat, ‘Flaws’ features Mamani Keïta and Fafa Ruffino on lead vocals with instantly memorable hooks and the deft pop production work of Jacknife Lee (U2, Modest Mouse, Taylor Swift). The track is taken from their forthcoming third album, Musow Danse, out 16 February 2024 on Real World Records.

The song has a simple message,” explains Malian singer Mamani Keïta. “The perfect person does not exist. We all have our flaws and imperfections which we carry with us through life. But there is beauty in imperfection, and that’s what we want people to realise.”

Jacknife Lee took time to listen to each of our voices,” says Fafa Ruffino, from Benin. “He doesn’t understand the language but you can tell that he feels the emotion, understands that our souls are deeply invested in our words. I feel like he entered our minds. What he did is more than musical. It is spiritual.

Les Amazones d'Afrique - Flaws (Official Video)

The accompanying music video for ‘Flaws’ was directed by Zambian contemporary dance artist and choreographer Kennedy Junior Muntanga and sees Mamani Keïta team up with a group of teenage dancers full of charm and youthful energy from the ACE Dance and Music school in Birmingham, England. The school’s mission is to promote dance through cultural exchange, and they have been working for over 20 years as leaders in the field of contemporary African and Caribbean dance, nurturing young talent from diverse backgrounds. The dancers truly encapsulate the song’s message of self-love and acceptance in a heart-warming performance filmed at ACE’s rehearsal studio.

“It was an amazing experience for our young dancers to work with such thoughtful and inspirational artists from across Africa. It’s exactly the kind of opportunity that we love to be able to offer to them, and we’re so proud of what they’ve been able to achieve.” Gail Parmel MBE, artistic director of ACE Dance and Music
Musow Danse will be released on 16 February 2024, available on marbled coloured LP with 12-page lyric and photo book, as well as CD and digital.

The presence of Africa —more specifically, of artists from countries in West and Central Africa— is felt throughout the forthcoming album Musow Danse. It’s there in the cornucopia of sonorities and languages (Bambara, Bété, Ewe, Fon, Pidgin, more) used to tell stories, oden through the proverb-form integral to African culture: “Everyone has flaws / People with flaws carry them everywhere they go,” sing Keïta and Ruffino on ‘Flaws’, their voices sparking and intertwining. “No matter what, we’re gonna make it / Get up, get up, get up, RISE.”

Africa is there on the record in the use of call-and-response, that aeons-old reciprocal melodising that captures the joy inherent in that most versatile of instruments, the human voice. It’s there in all the colour, positivity and creative forward-thinking that makes, has always made, Africa great, and in the inspiration taken from Les Amazones live shows with all their spectacle and energy and movement.

‘Flaws’ is out now. The album, Musow Danse, will be released on CD, LP and digitally via Real World Records on 16 February 2024. Les Amazones d’Afrique begin their European tour at the end of January.

Pre-order the album

Featured release

  • Musow Danse

    Les Amazones d’Afrique

    Released 16 February 2024

    Like a bow pulled back with a fist and a sharp-angled elbow, the supergroup Les Amazones d'Afrique take aim at gender inequality and, fortified by an ancient-to-future soundscape co-crafted with producer Jacknife Lee, shoot their flaming arrows. Six glorious voices, six mighty queens — Alvie Bitemo, Dobet Gnahoré, Kandy Guira, Mamani Keïta, Nneka, Fafa Ruffino — declaim in a range of languages of the freedom and joy that comes with speaking out, and of the power of unity and ally-ship. Female warriordom has never sounded so fierce — or so danceable.

By Oran Mullan

Main image: Mamani Keïta surrounded by the dancers of Ace Dance and Music school in Birmingham. Photo credit: Manoel Akure.

Published on Thu, 11 January 24

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