Les Amazones d’Afrique, Amazones Power (LP)

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  1. Heavy (feat. Niariu, Boy Fall & Jon Grace)
  2. Love (feat. Mamani Keïta)
  3. Smile (feat. Niariu & Ami Yerewolo)
  4. Queens (feat. Rokia Koné)
  5. Smooth (feat. Mamani Keïta)
  6. Dreams (feat. Rokia Koné)
  7. Timbuktu (feat. Mamani Keïta& Amadou Dembélé)
  8. Red (feat. Rokia Koné)
  9. Rebels (feat. Nacera Ouali Mesbah)
  10. Dogon (feat. Mamani Keïta & Amadou Dembélé)
  11. Fights (feat. Fafa Ruffino)
  12. Sisters (feat. Kandy Guira)
  13. Power

A creative force that embraces international voices; sweet, strong harmonies that summon the rights of women and girls; a meltdown of heritage and new gen talent… Les Amazones d’Afrique are back with Amazones Power, the sequel to their widely acclaimed 2017 debut album, Republique Amazone.

The roots of this pan-African female “supergroup” date back to 2014, when three renowned Malian music stars and social change activists— Mamani Keïta, Oumou Sangaré and Mariam Doumbia (also from legendary duo Amadou & Mariam) began a conversation about gender equality with Valerie Malot (head of the French booking/creative agency 3D Family). “What we found was that female repression in the continent and in the world, is something that touches every woman,” recalls Malot. “It’s not a question of colour or culture. It’s something generic. All women can relate to it.”

Universal truths, and a united desire for equality, sparked the formation of Les Amazones: a collective named in homage to generations of courageous and proud warrior women (as well as ground-breaking 1960s female pop group, Les Amazones de Guinee). Les Amazones d’Afrique have also proved fearless in confronting undeniably difficult subjects that remain an issue not just across the African continent, but around the world; throughout the heady roots and electronic grooves of their second album, there are hard-hitting themes, as songs address misogyny and violence, sexual identity, forced marriage, and the barbaric practice of FGM (female genital mutilation, or “cutting”). The sound of the album is also visionary, richly melodic and far-ranging, blending pan-African styles and collaborative harmonies with gritty, contemporary pop, and the Congotronix-style production of legendary producer Doctor L (aka Liam Farrell), who mixed and mastered the record in Dakar and Paris.

Original member Mamani Keïta continues her journey with Les Amazones on Amazones Power, bringing her gorgeously fiery vocals to several tracks, including ‘Love’ (with its commanding sentiment translating as: “The woman deserves respect”), ‘Smooth’, ‘Timbuktu’ and ‘Dogon’. The latest album also features the welcome return of Rokia Koné, aka “The Rose Of Bamako”, who brings glorious soul and wry detail to highlights such as the inspirational ‘Queens’ (a call for solidarity with wives forced to bottle up the cruelty they endure from their new husbands and in-laws). This time, Les Amazones reach has also extended further, bringing in new voices and rising stars from across Africa, including Beninese vocalist Fafa Ruffino, whose versatile range connects the musical influence of her Ghanaian grandmother, gospel and soul genres, and cultural styles from Nigeria to Burkina Faso.

Ruffino is clear about the appeal of joining Les Amazones: “The first thing was the concept,” she says. “I mean, asking different female singers to team up and fight for women’s rights, by using music as the ultimate force, is just amazing. I came running, ‘cause I felt like this was a duty call, and even more than that…”

“We come from different countries, yet we’re facing the same issues in our home towns. We need to show the world that there are no boundaries when it comes to standing for our rights… It felt like the universe put us together. We were fighting alone, and something pushed our energy to meet.”

Les Amazones’ songs speak to siblings, parents, children and societies at large; they often draw deeply from personal experiences, as well as giving vital voice to those who are unfairly overlooked. As the youngest new member of the group, Guinean musician / dancer / artist Niariu, explains:

“To me particularly, the biggest message would be to say that there are voices that really need to be heard— and we have to make space for all women to express themselves and take part in solutions. We can’t make feminism only about gender equality in western countries when a lot of women don’t have access to basic human rights. If we’re not all free, then some become the oppressors while others stay oppressed.

“This project is called Les Amazones d’Afrique, but I think it’s important not to put it in a ‘box’. People need to start realising that the African continent is a significant part of the world. Everything is international about this project, from the people that worked on it to the languages and the sounds we’re using, to the message we’re sharing, and I hope everyone will embrace it as a whole.”

Niariu’s lilting refrain (“Together we must stand/ Together we must end this”) feature on the album’s invigoratingly funky opening track and lead single, Heavy. Elsewhere, the album’s brilliantly diverse, vivacious lead voices include Malian rap star Ami Yerewolo, Algerian singer Nacera Ouali Mesbah (whose work has included taking on traditionally male-dominated chaabi music; here, she delivers the incendiary Arabic-language lyrics of Rebels— “We want to live free, live in peace… The path is certainly long, but we will succeed”), and Ivory Coast chanteuse Kandy Guira, who brings fierceness and beauty to ‘Sisters’. On the album’s mighty concluding track, Power, a collective of 16 multi-generational vocalists spanning Africa, Europe and Latin America herald a collaborative future where there is true equality.

 

Informação adicional

Artista

Les Amazones d'Afrique

Editora

Real World Records

Formato

Vinyl, LP, Album

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