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Film: Africa Gets Animated In Upcoming Features

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In the coming months, French cinemagoers and international film festival attendees will be treated to two feature films with African subjects.  Aya de Yopougon (Aya of Yop City), based in the eponymous graphic novel by the Ivoirienne Marguerite Abouet, with drawings by her husband Clément Oubrier, has just been confirmed for a May release, shortly after the début of Zarafa (trailer above), by the writer and director Rémi Bezançon, at the Berlin Film Festival next week.  In keeping with the country’s longstanding support of the bande-déssinée, France has proven a fertile ground for the production of animated treatments of African themes.  Both films have clear precedents:  Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi, 2007) in the case of AYA and Kirikou et les Bêtes Sauvages (Michel Ocelot and Bénédicte Galup, 2005) in that of Zarafa.  With the first, we have hybrids of the graphic novel and memoir that have made the transition to the screen, and with the second, filmic representations of myths drawn from the oral traditions of the African continent.  Particularly given the record-breaking sales achieved by AYA Worldwide, we may hope that these two films will bring the public closer to a more nuanced, colorful vision of Africa, as distinct from the pessimism rampant in the Western media.

via Shadow and Act.

 

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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