The Malian singer Oumou Sangaré has provided a template for a generation of African women; feminist but sensuous, rooted in tradition but open to fresh influences. Her first album in eight years finds Parisian production collective Albert giving her sound a tasteful update with a cleanly recorded but more minimal set of backings for her agile vocals. N’goni harps and massed choruses still chime and ring, but there’s more emphasis on rhythm. Minata Waraba, a tribute to her mother, and Fadjamou are both fiercely upbeat, while slower pieces such as Kounkoun and Mogoya let Sangaré’s commanding voice do the work. A refreshingly short, focused piece of work.
Neil Spencer is a writer and an astrologer for The Observer