Re-imagining her much-praised 2017 release ‘Mogoya’ totally unplugged, in live sessions recorded over just two days, ‘Acoustic’ is the final chapter in a trio of related projects, following 2018’s ‘Mogoya Re-mixed’ edition, which saw Sangar ‘s compositions retooled by high-profile fans including Sampha, Spoek Mathambo and St Germain.
‘Acoustic’ consolidates Sangar ‘s position as Mali’s leading opinion-maker, established with her 250,000-selling 1989 debut Moussolou, which did much for the feminist cause in West Africa. Oumou’s capacity to confront suffering whilst preserving her connection to Malian values is reflected in two additional tracks added to ‘Acoustic’. ‘Saa Magni’, which laments the passing of Amadou Ba Guindo (member of the Orchestre National Badema), and ‘Diaraby
Nene’ (lifted from Mous-solou) in which Sangar ‘s lyrics dared to detail her first physical encounters. The release of ‘Mogoya’ in 2017 signalled the return of Oumou Sangar after 8 years, during which she had been managing her numerous businesses (including agriculture & pisciculture). With that album, the woman who’d swapped selling water on the streets of Bamako for global stardom reconnected with her audience. Balancing the traditional music of Wassoulou and a forwards-facing curiosity, Malian instruments were augmented by electric guitar, bass and synths, with Tony Allen on drums.
Oumou was painted by Congolese artist JP Mika for the front cover, and more recently sampled by Beyonc (who used ‘Diaraby Nene’ without permission on ‘MOOD 4 EVA’). Never before had Sangar appeared so far removed from her home country – it’s a dynamic that ‘Acoustic’ redresses, with Oumou embodying the same freedom & audacity of her debut, 30 years ago. It’s the fighter, the undefeated rebel that you find here on this snapshot of an album.