Fatoumata Diawara: Fenfo (Wagram)

 |   |  <1 min read

Fatoumata Diawara: Fenfo (Wagram)

The album title here might be a joke, it means “something to say”. But this outing by one of Mali's finest singers and songwriters comes a full seven years after her stunning debut Fatou which was in our best of that year's list.

Admittedly she has been busy recording with other artists (among them David Crosby, Herbie Hancock and Snarky Puppy, which is indicative of her range) but this one doesn't have any thing like the frisson of that debut.

The desert blues of the title track is so dialed down musically that despite her soaring vocal it simply never gets any momentum let alone engagement, and elsewhere you sense that someone thought it would be a good idea to constrain her into appeasing pop (albeit with tickling guitars and kora).

Material like the supple Kokoro and the upbeat ba-ba-ba pop of Bonya simply strike familiar chords, Kanou Dan Yen rides a polite rhythm and while Negue Negue sounds more energised with its funky groove and pop smarts it also hardly allows her to reach the depth and breadth she has been capable of.

The ballad Mama and the thoughtful Don Do (with cellist Vincent Segal) right at the end are high points, but unworthy material such as the lightweight Dibi Bo (which barely keeps the interest despite being just over two minutes) suggests this album suffered from a paucity of material and clear direction.

Enjoyable enough, but also disappointing.

Share It

Your Comments

Louis Harpster - Aug 6, 2018

The new outing is disappointing. Nick Gold's production on Fatou is just right. Fatou is a wonderful album. On the new one they are trying a little of this and a little of that and very little of it is satisfying.

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

The Funkees: Dancing Time (Soundway Records)

The Funkees: Dancing Time (Soundway Records)

The band name might be slightly misleading -- there is more Afrogroove than funk here -- but we will take the subtitle (The Best of Eastern Nigeria's Afro Rock Exponents 1973-77) at its word... > Read more

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2009 (Border)

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2009 (Border)

Billed as "the unofficial soundtrack to the French Film festival 2009" (and actually an Australian compilation so may bear absolutely no relation whatsoever to the French Film Festival we... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BLACK SABBATH, AGAIN (2013): Back in black

BLACK SABBATH, AGAIN (2013): Back in black

One day in the late Nineties before a solo tour by Ozzy Osbourne, I phoned him for a chat. This was five years before the notorious television (un)reality family drama The Osbournes so I wasn't... > Read more

ELVIS PRESLEY, AN ESSAY ON THE MAN 15 YEARS GONE (1992): The once and future King

ELVIS PRESLEY, AN ESSAY ON THE MAN 15 YEARS GONE (1992): The once and future King

This year, 1992, Elvis Presley - the first and only king of rock’n’roll - has been gone 15 years, yet, ironically, he often seems more alive than ever these days. Living Colour may... > Read more