The rising Malian singer discusses music as social activism and her journey from child actress to global music sensation.
Multi-talented Malian musician Fatoumata Diawara, with her enveloping voice and a cross-border pop sensibility, has emerged as a powerful new star from the African continent. Diawara’s 2011 debut Fatou was lauded for its keen ability to update traditional Malian musical styles with a modern take, and solidified her as an in-demand star, leading her to work with the likes of Bobby Womack, Herbie Hancock, Flea and Damon Albarn. Diawara’s 2018 record FENFO marked another major step forward —and as an artist who firmly believes that music can be a force of positive change, Diawara has used her work to speak out against social issues in her home country, including the practice of FGM, human trafficking and violent Islamist uprisings. In this Fireside Chat, Diawara discusses music as social activism and her journey from child actress to global music sensation.