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Laura Mvula 'She' + 'Green Garden'

Hear breakout singer Laura Mvula's "She" and "Green Garden." These two spine-tingling singles.


Hear breakout singer Laura Mvula's "She" and "Green Garden." Singer and pianist Laura Mvula was born in the UK and raised with myriad musical influences. Jazz came courtesy of her father, gospel via the church on Sunday and classical music through training in violin and piano from the age of 10. Before emerging as one of the best newcomers of 2012 (she was nominated for BBC Sound of 2013 and the Brit's Critic's Choice Award), she worked as a teacher and receptionist in Birmingham. She studied for four years at the Birmingham Conservertoire, where as well as gaining expertise in composition she acquired the name Mvula from her Zambia-born husband Themba Mvula — she's had the African blogosphere laying claim for a minute, but she's a daughter of the diaspora. Mvula spent a further four years working with legendary a capella group Black Voices, whose intricate approach to harmony winds its way through her work. Her first video, for the impeccable track "She" (below) was shot in the mountains of Montagu, Western Cape by South African director Damian Weilers.

We've already told you that Mvula's going to be huge, but in case you needed any more evidence listen to her new single "Green Garden," which will be released on February 24th. It's more upbeat and playful than the previous offerings, but if you think it sounds a little more produced than "Like the Morning Dew" or Laura Mvula's "She," let her BBC performance of the song prove how well "Green Garden" translates live. Mvula's debut album Sing to the Moon drops on March 4.

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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