Artist Gallery Photo

91.3 KBCS presents Fatoumata Diawara

Tue, Apr 15 -
Wed, Apr 16, 2014

Doors open at 6:00 PM each night.
First sets begin at 7:30 PM, and second sets (when applicable) begin at 9:30 PM (doors: 9:15 PM).
$24.50 Free parking

91.3 KBCS and the Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley present critically acclaimed singer/songwriter and guitarist Fatoumata Diawara, touring in support of her debut release, Fatou. Band members are Corine Thuy Thy (vocals/percussion), Ekoue Jean-Baptiste Gbadoe (drum), Jean Alain Hohy (bass) and Gregory Emonet (guitar). Set times on Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30pm. Doors open at 5:30pm.

artist info

Fatoumata Diawara's debut album, Fatou, was released in 2012 to wide critical acclaim. Diawara—whom the Telegraph calls “the most beguiling talent to hit the world music scene in some time” and Mojo calls a "spell-weaving new voice"—uses elements of jazz, pop, and funk along with her ancestral Wassoulou tradition. John Paul Jones, Toumani Diabate, and Tony Allen all make guest appearances. Uncut gives Fatou four stars; Pitchfork calls it "beguiling." The Washington Post says, "her well-crafted songs are quietly powerful." She was also nominated as one of New African's 100 Most Influential Africans of 2013 and became the first woman to receive the Science for Peace award from the Veronesi Foundation in Milan in 2013.

Her rise to stardom is as inspirational as her current success. At the age of 18, Diawara was already a renowned actress within her country of origin, Mali. Offers for acting roles poured in, but Diawara’s family wanted her to settle down and marry. After much soul-searching, Diawara made the daring decision to run away and join a performance company outside of Mali. At the Bamako airport, she managed to board a plane for Paris, narrowly escaping the pursuit of the police who had been alerted to the girl’s “kidnapping.” During rehearsals and quiet moments, she took to singing backstage for her own amusement. She was overheard by the director and was soon singing solo during the company’s performances. Encouraged by the reception from audiences, she began to sing in Parisian clubs and cafes during breaks from touring. Here she met Cheikh Tidiane Seck, the celebrated Malian musician and producer, who invited her back to Mali to work on two projects as chorus vocalist: Seya, the Grammy–nominated album by Malian singer Oumou Sangaré, and Red Earth, the Grammy–winning Malian project by American jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater. When the albums were released, Diawara toured worldwide as singer and dancer with both artists.

On her return to France, Diawara bought a guitar and started to teach herself to play. She worked to complete an album’s worth of songs and started recording demos, for which she composed and arranged all of the tracks, as well as playing guitar, percussion, bass, and singing lead and harmony vocals. Soon she had a record deal and began the recording of her debut album. Between recording sessions, she found time to contribute vocals to albums by Cheikh Lô, AfroCubism, Herbie Hancock’s Grammy–winning Imagine Project, and Orchestra Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou. Following her recent release, Diawara performed as part of Damon Albarn’s album and live project Rocket Juice and the Moon, which featured himself, Tony Allen, and Flea. She also is featured on Roberto Fonseca’s most recent release, YO, and on Bobby Womack’s album The Bravest Man in the Universe. Diawara has toured as a headliner extensively, selling out venues around the world.

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