The third album by Fatoumata Diawara, the legendary Malian musician, is out today. She co-produced London Ko with Daniel Florestano and Damon Albarn and includes a galaxy of guest musicians, including Albarn, Angie Stone, Roberto Fonseca, M.anifest, and Yemi Alade.
Fatoumata Diawara: a vibrant musical trailblazer
Hailed as one of the most vital standard-bearers of modern African music, Diawara’s music remains hard to classify: Afropop, Afrofolk, Afrofuturism. Somewhere between tradition and modernity, guitar in hand, she mixes wassoulou rhythms and West African vocal techniques with contemporary sounds.
With this musical blend in mind, she reunited with a former collaborator, French rocker -Mo-, on the single ‘Massa Den’. The track is an ode to love, a delicious mix of her voice and guitar with the brilliant sounds of -M-. Check out the video below.
Fatou explains: “Love is free, love cannot be forced upon someone. Let those who love each other be together. Who has upset the man my heart and soul have chosen? Who is talking behind my lover’s back. He is the one who carries the hope of a nation on his shoulders. Don’t mess about with Mansaden, the king’s son, the prince and the man I love!”
A musical melting pot
The single is indicative of a vibrant, vital LP. The trailblazing Fatoumata plunges us into her eclectic, avant-garde universe. With the different styles and approaches she brings to her music (Afrobeat, jazz, pop, electro, and even hip hop), London Ko is an album that defies categorisation. “I put all my love, my soul and my body into the creative process for this album,” she says.
London Ko is a made-up phrase but is a nod to the blending of different musical styles from Mali and Albarn’s London. As she explains, “For me, London Ko means opening your mind. It also represents Damon Albarn’s connection to Malian music.”
London Ko (Wagram Music) is out now.