I can get really annoyed by those who consider Oumou Sangaré to be the first Malian artist to sing about women's issues. Those who have visited the country will agree that there is not (and has never been) a lack of 'strong' women in Mali. I would even go so far as to state that the country has managed to survive mainly by the efforts of the female population.
The plight of women has been the subject of great singers long before Oumou. The topics may have changed with the times, but the message has remained essentially the same.
All things considered Kandia Kouyaté has always been a symbol of the determination and strength of Malian women and doesn't even have to sing about women to achieve this. One only has to look at her, performing on Malian television at the age of 18, to see the incredible personality and power of this Grand Dame of Malian music. Here she is in another video from the early 1980s, a song entitled "Moussolou" (women)...
You may have noted that I have added the chat with presenter Zoumana Yoro Traoré. Even if you don't understand a word of Bambara you will have to acknowledge the confidence shown by this young star...
Her first lp, recorded with the help of fan and sponsor Amary Daou, offers more proof of this confidence and of Kandia's strong personality. Just listen how she announces the titles of the tracks.
My favourite track on this is the last, but there are really no weaker tracks on this great album by one of Mali's alltime superstars.
In the near future I will post more music and more videos of Kandia, including some material which has not been previously released.
Pat Thomas Introduces Marijata
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