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Five minutes with Fatoumata Diawata

Five minutes with Fatoumata Diawata

Five minutes with Fatoumata Diawata

First time WOMADelaide performer Fatoumata Diawata from Mali, Africa lists Grammy winner Kidjo as one of her musical influences. She sat down with MiNDFOOD to talk about her music.

WOMADelaide returns to Adelaide, South Australia on 8-11 March, 2019 in the city’s Botanic Park. This four-day festival of music, arts and dance, draws crowds of up to 100,000 people from all around the world. Described by the Guardian as an “all singing, all dancing festival of joy”, the 2019 festival features acts such as The Original Gypsies (ex Gipsy Kings), US singer Liz Phair, Kiwi soul artist Teeks and African superstar, Angélique Kidjo and Fatoumata Diawata.

For those unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe it?

My music is made from my roots, my experiences, from my heart – it´s a mix of many things learnt, it´s strong, vibrating and it can be affectionate.

Apart from Angélique Kidjo, who are your musical influences/inspirations?

Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, US singer Erykah Badu, South African singer Miriam Makeba and Malian singer Oumou Sangare.

Do you write all your own songs and if so, what kinds of issues or themes do you like to highlight in your songs?

Yes I do, on my latest album Fenfo (Something to Say) I talk about migration, love, I appeal to respect, equality and peace…

What language(s) do you sing in?

Mostly in Bambara, the language of Mali.

Where do you live now?

I lived in France for some time but my home is in Mali, Africa and Como, Italy. I normally live in Italy but also spend some time in Mali. Each place is different and special – Italy is a good base for all my work/touring and Mali is my roots, my home town.

You have acted in several films. Do you consider yourself primarily an actor/musician/singer or all three?

All three, I started out being an actress and later discovered music but the three disciplines are my passion. With music, I can express myself, my feelings, my thoughts, what I want to communicate, and acting is also a part of me. I really enjoy it all!

What do you like about Australia?

I love this country but overall I like the people, very open, warm and grateful – I am looking forward to having a lot of fun and to transmit this same energy to the audience. I cannot wait to present my new album to the Australians and to share emotions together.

Why are you happy to be performing at WOMADelaide?

I very much like the spirit of this festival, based on a multicultural society. It is a festival with a great reputation so it’s a real honour for me to play here.

For more about WOMADelaide or to purchase tickets, visit

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