Fatoumata Diawara is on a mission with her music. In a newly released video for her song “Bonya,” the Malian-born musician says we all need and deserve respect.
The video, featured above, was directed by Juan Gomez at Montuno. “Bonya” features a range of influences from 1960s R&B and is laced with sounds from the West African kora.
“Bonya” is from Diawara’s second solo album, “Fenfo,” which translates from her native Bambara as “something to say.” It’s a follow-up to Diawara’s debut album “Fatou,” recorded seven years ago. The Guardian’s Robin Denselow called the record a “classy affair that demonstrates her impressive musical range.”
Diawara emigrated to France in 2001. She was 19 when she left her parents and 10 siblings to join a theater company. But Diawara knows where she is from. When she visits Mali, it’s the food that reminds her of her soul.
“Food is like reminding me of my roots, my heritage, my human, my person, my ancestors, my African blood and my African being,” Diawara told The World’s Marco Werman in June. “It’s everything. It’s my soul.”
But, even without a table of delicious eats, you can hear the soul of Diawara and her native Mali throughout her work. Here’s the opening track from “Fenfo,” one of several “seductive marriages of ancient and modern,” according to Kitty Empire.