Wednesday 14 September 2016

On Stage: Fatoumata Diawara @ Paradiso

A few years ago Malian musician Fatoumata Diawara released her wonderful debut album Fatou that is full of beautiful and personal songs. She visited our country a few times but I was not able to see her yet. Fortunately she returned to Paradiso this month.

Fatoumata Diawara at Paradiso Amsterdam, September 12 2016

Her three piece backing band starts to play to us warm up before Diawara enters the stage. Her charismatic personality and smiling face lights up the big hall of Paradiso. The beginning is modest with a few slow and subdued songs. Her voice is clear and strong and she uses it not only to sing, but also to speak up against issues in Mali and Africa and to preach love and peace. It fits her strong, positive attitude and gives some of the songs, that tell about these issues, more depth.

Slowly the tempo is going up and people start to dance. Diawara not only is a great singer and musician she also knows how to entertain the crowd. She teaches us some African dance moves, asks us to clap to the beat several times and makes sure we stay focused. Her band is never showing off and stays a bit in the background. The swinging and ringing guitar that is playing those characteristic West-African melodies, sounds clear and the rhythm section is tight and groovy.

At the end the music is swinging and funky, so by now almost no one is standing still. Diawara is dancing wildly on stage adding even more to the already energetic performance. Her band members are all getting a moment to shine as well before it is time to say goodbye to this amazing woman. But not before she comes back and leaves us with one more dance.

All Pictures

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