Video

Inna Modja Visits Malick Sidibé's Studio In The Video For 'Tombouctou'

Inna Modja seeks to empower Malian women in the new music video for "Tombouctou," shot in iconic photographer Malick Sidibé's studio.


Malian-French soul pop singer Inna Modja shares the music video for "Tombouctou," her latest single off the upcoming Motel Bamako album. The visuals, shot in Bamako at Malick Sidibé's studio, follow the aesthetic of the iconic Malian photographer's black-and-white 1960s portraits.

"The song 'Tombouctou' is about praying for peace in Mali & bringing awareness to women's condition in the North of Mali," the Paris-based singer explains to Okayafrica. "I've known Malick Sidibé my entire life. He shot pictures of my parents in the 60s and my family since the 80s. I couldn't think of a better place than his studio to shoot this video empowering women. He's been taking pictures of Malian youth & women for decades. In the video, by sitting next to my mother, grand-mother and nieces, I wanted to show different generation of women standing up for freedom. I co-directed the video with Marco Conti Sikic."

Inna Modja, who got her start as a background singer for legendary Malian vocalist Salif Keita's Rail Band de Bamako, is readying the release of her third studio album Motel Bamako, which will also feature the previously covered "C'est La Vie". Watch her slightly NSFW visuals for "Tombouctou" below.

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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