Library Weekly

The ASCL's Library Weekly is our library’s weekly spotlight on African people and events. Inspired by the SciHiBlog, this service is based on information retrieved from Wikipedia and Wikidata and is completed with selected titles from the ASCL Library Catalogue. 

N.B. The weeklies are not updated and reflect the state of information at a given point in time.

Library Weekly archive

Oumou Sangaré

Oumou Sangaré, 2018 (Wikimedia Commons,  Diario de Madrid, CC BY 4.0)On 2 (12/25*) February 1968 Grammy Award-winning Malian singer and songwriter Oumou Sangaré was born. She is known for championing women’s rights through wassoulou, a style of popular music derived from vocal and instrumental traditions of rural southern Mali. "Wassoulou music is performed mostly by women. Some recurring themes in the lyrics are childbearing, fertility, and polygamy. Instrumentation includes soku (a traditional fiddle sometimes replaced with modern imported instruments), djembe drum, kamalen n'goni (a six-stringed harp), karinyan (metal tube percussion) and bolon (a four-stringed harp). The vocals are often passionate and emphatic, and delivered in a call-and-response pattern".
(From the English Wikipedia; *The information on the date of birth differs depending on the source.)

Selected publications

'An Jεra Cεla (We Share a Husband): Song as Social Comment on Polygamy in Southern Mali' / Lucy Durán.
In: Mande Studies, (19), pp 169-202, 2017.

Ngaraya: Women and Musical Mastery in Mali / Lucy Durán.
In: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 70 (3). pp. 569-602, 2007

Mali's songbird, Oumou Sangaré, & Radio as research / Lucy Duran. - BBC Radio 3: World Routes, 2003.

Divas of the Wassoulou Sound: Transformations in the Matrix of Cultural Production, Globalization, and Identity  / Heather Anne Maxwell.
In: Consumption, markets and culture, 2003-01-01, Vol.6 (1), p.43-63

Destiny's divas: Wassolu singing, music ideologies, and the politics of performance in Bamako, Mali / Heather Anne Maxwell. - Dissertation Indiana University, 2002

 "The world is made by talk": female fans, popular music, and new forms of public sociality in urban Mali / Dorothea Schulz.
In: Cahiers d'études africaines, vol. 42, cah. 168, p. 797-829, 2002.

'Women, Music, and the “Mystique” of Hunters in Mali' / Lucy Durán.
In: Monson, Ingrid, (ed.), The African Diaspora: A Musical Perspective. New York, NY: Garland Publishing, pp 137-86, 2000.

Music videos and the effeminate vices of urban culture in Mali / Dorothea Schulz.
In: Africa : journal of the International African Institute , vol. 71, no. 3, p. 345-372, 2001.

Oumou Sangaré : malienne, femme et artiste / François Bensignor.
In: Hommes et Migrations, n°1206, pp. 137-139, Mars-avril 1997.

Birds of Wasulu: Freedom of expression and expressions of freedom in the popular music of Southern Mali / Lucy Durán.
In: British journal of ethnomusicology, 1995-01-01, Vol.4 (1), p.101-134

For more publications see the ASCL Library Catalogue.

Oumou Sangaré on MuziekwebMusicBrainz and YouTube.

Oumou Sangaré Been (official clip, 30 January 2020)


Picture gallery, via Wikidata: Malian women singers