Do you know Oumou Sangare? The amazing singer from Mali? The songbird of Wassoulou? She has a fantastic voice. Many of her lyrics are about social issues, especially regarding women’s equality.
Things have been changing for women in the 20 years since she recorded her first album, Moussoulou [‘Women’], even in the conservative areas of West Africa and Oumou Sangare has been at the forefront of that change.
Her wonderful song Seya, from the album of the same name, is about her joyful homecoming and how feeling beautiful can be a big part of that joy.
She’s so right, beautiful fabric, a new dress, a visit to the salon, it works for all of us.
This is a song for my reunion with my audience in Mali.
Joy is here
I am joyfully here to greet the Malian people,
A girl is enjoying herself
She’s all dressed up, She arrives full of joy, She can’t help herself
Here’s a young man who’s being charming, full of joy and life
Me, I’m going to the big market in Bamako
I’m going to buy a length of bazin fabric
With overwhelming joy
Then I take it to the textile dyer whose name is Assa:
“Dye my fabric with all these colours: dark, light blue and fuschia.”
The bazin is dyed.
Then I’ll go to see my tailor, whose name is Boubacar
“Make me two styles: Soumaïla et Salama”, I ask him to sew me a skirt
I look good
I wear it tied on the hip, in a sort of sailor style
I arrive with the joy of Wassoulou
Everyone has their admirer
I’m going to the market in Medina Croix to go and get my hair plaited
In a tress of of overwhelming joy
Other girls are going to the great market
To buy themselves chastity belts, They’re being naughty
The pearls around their thighs show off their hips
They want to attract the attention of the men
They push their curves up before them, With their bayadjourou belts
I absolutely love this song. Don’t you agree? But you must not take my word for it, listen to her yourself! Take a minute and watch this video.