Spin (2/97, pp.88-90) - 8 (out of 10) - "...At different moments her songs can suggest a proud crusade or a luscious dream, always colored with her swirling voice and flashes of dark, fatalist philosophy....At 28, Sangare has become such a masterful phrase-shaper that her voice alone grips attention throughout WOROTAN..."
Option (11-12/97, pp.114-115) - "No praise is too huge for Mali's Sangare: she's not just a superstar, she's a national treasure....She's got one of the world's greatest voices....She's not afraid to speak her mind, and she's not afraid of updating the tradition..."
Personnel includes: Oumou Sangare (vocals); Boubacar Diallo, Nitin Sawhney (guitar); Chris Haig, Sovra Wilson (fiddle); Abdouleye Fofana (flute); Pee Wee Ellis (saxophone).
Oumou Sangare, born in 1968 in Mali, is a leading songwriter known for her passionate critique of African societal injustice. Her first album MOUSSOLOU became an international sensation. WOROTAN, her third album, finds Sangare addressing subjects like polygamous men and arranged marriages. Here she further develops her songwriting by employing a greater variation of instruments in her songs. The effortless range of Oumou's voice is imbued with feeling as she sings of the uncertainty of things on "Kun Fe Ko." The title track showcases the kamalngoni, a lute with thick strings, while Sangare's vocals soar above. The flutes on "Baba" are stunning. Horns on this album were arranged by Pee Wee Ellis, the saxophonist from James Brown's band. WOROTAN's unique instruments and guest musicians highlight Sangare's songwriting talent as well as her incredible delivery and vocal ability.