World Music Institute in association with The Apollo present Malian musician and GRAMMY Award-winner Oumou Sangaré for an incredible one-night-only performance at the world famous Apollo in Harlem, New York.
One of West Africa’s most celebrated vocalists, Sangaré infuses her music with traditional African percussion, distinctive vocals, and progressive social criticism, creating a unique sound that has propelled her onto the international stage. In her Apollo debut, Sangaré, “The Songbird of Wassoulou,” will perform music that spans traditional Wassoulou music to contemporary sounds coming out of Africa as well as songs from her recent critically acclaimed album, Timbuktu.
As an activist, businesswoman and global icon, Oumou Sangaré is considered an ambassador of Wassoulou; her music has been inspired by the music and traditional dances of the region. She writes and composes her songs, which often include social criticism, especially concerning women’s low status in society. Drawing comparisons to legendary performers such as Grace Jones, Nina Simone, and Aretha Franklin, Sangaré has been praised by stars including Beyoncé and Alicia Keys for her powerful voice and unwavering commitment to the betterment of women.
"Now that Tuareg desert blues is known around the world, Wassoulou — a style that favors female bandleaders and rides an equally infectious current of rhythm — is due for its own moment in the global sun. Oumou Sangaré ... [is]... one of Wassoulou’s greatest ambassadors abroad... She renders social critiques and affirmations of women’s power in a gravelly alto; on her latest release, “Timbuktu,” she shows off a wide range — singing over driving, front-loaded rhythms on some tracks, and offering wistful Malian ballads (think Toumani Diabaté and Ali Farka Touré) on others." — Giovanni Russonello, New York Times
We're thrilled to have Oumou, make her Apollo debut during our Next Movement season. Over the past eight decades the Apollo has amplified Black voices and used its platforms to create an intersection of art and activism, so having Oumou perform a range of music from Wassoulou music to contemporary sounds is exactly the kind of artistic conversation that we champion.” — Kamilah Forbes, Executive Producer, The Apollo
"We are pleased to present Mali's legendary "Songbird of Wassoulou" Oumou Sangaré in association with our friends at the Apollo; in her debut at this historic venue, no less! This performance is part of our Women’s Voices series, which celebrates the role that female artists play in the preservation and promotion of their cultures and traditions. As a social activist, businesswoman and global musical icon, Oumou Sangaré embodies the spirit of this series. It will be a musical experience to remember. "
— Gaby Sappington, Executive Director, WMI