Personnel: Oumou Sangare (vocals); Boubacar Diallo, Baba Salah, Nitin Sawhney (guitar); Mike Williams (flute, alto saxophone); Malik Mezzadri, Abdouleye Fofana (flute); Pee Wee Ellis, Jean Toussaint (tenor saxophone); Paul Jayasingha, Graeme Hamilton (trumpet); Winston Rollins (trombone); Simon Burwell (keyboards); Amadou Ba Gundo, Colin Bass, Guy N'Sangue (bass); Brice Wassy, Frank Tontoh (drums); Ibrahima Sard, Basidi Keita (djembe); Thomas Dyani (percussion); James Thompson (programming).
Producers include: Amadou Ba, Nick Gold, Massambou Wele Diallo, Boncana Maiga, Bamako.
Compilation producers: Charlie Gillett, Nick Gold.
Recorded between 1989 & 2003. Includes liner notes by Oumou Sangare.
Oumou Sangare first caught America's ear when she joined the popular Africa Fete tour in 1995. A celebrated singer in Mali since her childhood, and an outspoken proponent of social justice for African men and women, Sangare rocks the Wassoulou sound, characterized by gently rollicking acoustic instrumentation, an insistent rhythm, a vaguely Arabic feel, and down-to-earth lyrics about the concerns of the common person. This two-disc set offers a retrospective of her work since 1990 along with eight new and unreleased recordings. The older material has been remastered to sparkling clarity.
Oumou's voice is vivid and utterly unique, pitched in the higher range and supported by acoustic guitars, scintillating electric bass, and African percussion, featuring the djembe. Standout tracks include the impassioned "Magnoumako" (translation: Agony) which is more upbeat than the title would suggest, and the gleefully vindictive "Dugu Kamalemba" (translation: The Skirt-Chaser.)