Audio

Oumou Sangaré and Tony Allen's New Video For 'Yere Faga' Will Give You Life

Grammy Award-winning Malian singer Oumou Sangaré and Tony Allen share a message of strength in the face of suicide and depression.

Oumou Sangaré, the celebrated Malian singer, is set to release her first album of original music in over 8 years.


Mogoya (which roughly translates to 'People Today') will continue in the Grammy Award-winning artist's deeply-rooted traditional Malian sound, but with an ear towards the future, as traditional instruments like the n'goni and calabash are blended with synthesizers and electric guitars.

"This album is the result of many years of work. I've collaborated with many people and I've been able to observe people's mentality," Oumou mentions. “This time around I wanted to go for more of a modern sound, to satisfy young people in Mali, but being careful, all the while, to respect my culture and my tradition."

For the album's lead single, "Yere Faga," Oumou connects with afrobeat royalty and drumming legend Tony Allen for a message of strength in the face of suicide and depression.

In the song, Oumou, who has dealt with malicious rumors about herself throughout her career and witnessed first hand their effect on her mental state, sings:

"Don't kill yourself because of suffering. Life on this earth is not easy and people will always talk ill of you, no matter what you do. If you kill yourself over such things, you will just leave your loved ones behind in more pain. I was called all sorts of names, but did I commit suicide? Suffering and pain are part of life."

Oumou Sangaré 'Mogoya' album cover.

"You know, success is heavy. Success is difficult," she tells OkayAfrica. "For me, it's been almost 30 years since I first tasted success. So I've seen plenty of things. I've lived. There have been times when, if I didn't have a strong character, I could have put an end to my life. I could've put an end to it all, such was the extent of the unimaginable stuff I saw happening around me."

"But I wrote this song to give an example to everyone and to say that in life you have to be STRONG," Oumou continues. "Everybody will encounter some problem one day or another. But you have to be stronger than the problem so you can go beyond it. When you're weak, either the problem kills you, or you kill yourself. But everyone has problems. Even the heads of state, the kings, the queens, they have their personal problems. The human spirit just has to be strong, so it can face those problems. You have to get it in your head that the problem will go away one day."

Watch the new music video for "Yere Faga," premiering with us here today, above. Pre-order Mogoya here, due May 19 from No Format!

Interview

Angelique Kidjo Writes a Love Letter to 'Mother Nature'

We talk to the Beninese musical icon about assembling her new album on Zoom and the "bigger than COVID-19" threat that lies ahead!

The kind of infectious energy that lives within Angelique Kidjo can't be contained by Zoom. Her zest for life reaches out far beyond any screen, and burns stronger than the fastest internet connection.

"I can't wait until we're in person hugging again," she enthuses soon after joining our Zoom meeting to discuss her latest album Mother Nature. Having been on the receiving end of a hug from the four-time Grammy-winning singer, I know exactly what I'm missing out on. "Me too," I say, as I wrap my arms around my laptop, my face squishing the screen. "No, no," she retorts. "I don't want that. You keep it. I want the real deal," she chuckles, her full-bodied trademark laughter lovingly admonishing me.

The Benin-born musician is preparing to release Mother Nature, a collection of songs reflecting our one Earth, and cementing her status as an African musical icon. Collaborating with the likes of Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Burna Boy, Sampa the Great, Shungudzo and more, Kidjo's crossing through time and space, over age and country through Mother Nature's themes and stories. Each track is infused with a vigor that only she possesses — the kind that shares a significant message even as the listener is called to just dance or sing along.

Below, Angelique Kidjo reminisces about making the album, and chats us through her hopes and dreams for it!

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