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Every Wednesday at 4pm the North 103.3 highlights global artists during Northland Afternoon

World Music Wednesday: Fatoumata Diawara

Fatoumata Diawara
Fatoumata Diawara

Learn more about this Malian artist who whose modern sound remains respectful of her musical heritage.

World Music Wednesday is a weekly segment on The North 103.3 FM. Every Wednesday at 4pm on Northland Afternoon, we will feature a brand-new release or a significantly important past work from our vast library of music from around the world.

Support for World Music Wednesday comes from Simply Ballroom in Duluth's Craft District.

Today's World Music Wednesday spotlights the music of actor, guitarist, singer, and songwriter Fatoumata Diawara, an artist who is "hailed as one of the most vital standard-bearers of modern African music." Born in in the Ivory Coast to Malian parents, Fatoumata Diawara spent her childhood years in Mali, but moved to France at the age of eighteen. She began her career as an actor, appearing in a dozen films over the past couple decades, including the 2014 film Timbuktu, that was nominated for an Africa Movie Academy Award, a BAFTA Award in the UK, and an Academy Award in the US. Touring the world with French street theatre company Royal de Luxe, her singing was featured in several productions, which led to her first music recording, the EP, Kanou, in 2011.

She has strived for her music to be modern, yet respectful of her musical heritage. Her 2018 album Fenfo (which translates as "Something to Say") combines modern electric guitar and drum kit sounds with the ancient African strings of the kora and kamel ngoni. Though also a speaker of French and English, the songs are mostly sung in the language.

She has recorded with Bobby Womack and Herbie Hancock; played Glastonbury and other major festivals, toured with the Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca, and has shared stages with such legends as Sir Paul McCartney and David Crosby. Her most recent album, London Ko, was released in May of 2023.

Chris Harwood is The North 1033’s Production Director and (acting) Program Director, a morning/daytime host, and the host of Soul Village. He is also a musician, a music historian, an audio engineer, and an avid record collector.
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