"Music is cathartic for me"

Published: 27 November, 2013 10:00 IST | Ruchika Kher |

Young and dynamic Malian singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara, who draws people to her music with a melodious concoction of Jazz, Funk and African Folk, is set to sweep Mumbaiites off their feet with her warm, haunting voice and engaging guitar riffs, as Ruchika Kher finds out

At 29, Fatoumata Diawara from Mali, and now, resident of Paris, has seen more than most her age have. From fighting parental opposition against her artistic ambitions to raising her voice against cultural prejudice faced by women throughout Africa, Diawara -- who first embarked on a musical journey in 2011 with her maiden album, Fatou -- believes in making a difference through the power of music. Excerpts from an interview:

Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara Pic/AFP

What do you have in store for Indian audiences?
This is my first time in India. The public should expect an intimate musical journey to Africa.

Your music is a mix of diverse influences. Why did you think it necessary to fuse your traditional sound with western influences?
Because I wanted to be able to travel with my music and to be able to take Malian music to many different parts of the world. Mixing the sound with a western sound has enabled me to do so.

You were an actress. So, how did music happen? What gives you more creative satisfaction — music or acting?
I like acting, because it is interesting to explore many different emotions. I got into music because it is cathartic; it allows me to address the difficulties I have had in the past but with a positive perspective for the future.

You are from Mali, which is very different from Paris, your present home. Was it tough for you to adjust to a city that is so different from your roots?
It wasn’t difficult at all; on the contrary, Paris provided me with a new start, a place to distance myself from the family problems I had in Mali and a place to discover myself as a woman and to fight for my dreams.

What is your opinion about the prejudice faced by women in Africa? Would you like to do anything to improve this situation?
I am always trying to fight for the freedom of women in Africa; it’s the main purpose of my music, maybe it is not enough but I am always trying to think of new ways to fight for them.

What is your opinion about India? How tuned in are you to its music and culture?
I love Indian music. Even though I don’t understand what they are saying, I love the emotion it carries.

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