Celebrated Malian singer/guitarist/songwriter/actress Fatoumata Diawara has announced details of her new video ‘Ambè’. Composed during the first lockdown, Fatoumata enlisted revered female musicians Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, China Moses, Inna Modja, Somi, Mayra Andrade, Thandiswa Mazwai and Terri Lyne Carrington to collaborate on the track. ‘Ambè’ meaning ‘altogether’ in Bambara, underlines the importance of harmony and togetherness in difficult and challenging times, a theme Fatoumata often explores in her work. The unique collaboration between female artists of African origin or descent sends a message of cooperation and a world without borders.
‘Ambè’, a stand-alone and non-commercial release available only on YouTube and social media, is a project close to Fatoumata’s heart. Diawara invited each musician to contribute vocals and lyrics to a verse on the song and the parts were recorded remotely before being mixed together.
“Ambè means altogether”, explains Fatoumata. “The idea for the song came to me during the first lockdown. Countries were closing their borders because of the pandemic and I was very afraid. I was like ‘what should I do? what can I do? could we do something together?’. I was very afraid and at the same time I felt a huge amount of hope. Hope for me has always come through my guitar and my voice. The first thing I did was cry and that always makes me feel better. The second thing was to sing and put a smile back on my face. I then had the idea to write a song to remind us all that no matter what colour you are, which country you come from, if you’re rich or poor, a doctor or poor person on the street, we are all equal and all the same. COVID reminds us that we are all one and that we should fight for love instead of fighting over our differences. I didn’t want to write and record it alone, so I called out to women, my sisters. I could have contacted over 100 people and the song could’ve been one or two hours long. Obviously, that’s not possible nowadays so I opted for eight girls and it is already amazing to me. I would love for others to join in, perhaps 1000 women and we will keep singing to remind people that we are all one and this mentality will save future generations.”
Hailed as one of the most vital standard-bearers of modern African music, Fatoumata Diawara’s Grammy-nominated second album Fenfo was released in 2018 to universal critical acclaim. Diawara has previously worked and toured with some of the biggest names in contemporary music, including Bobby Womack, Herbie Hancock, Damon Albarn, Sir Paul McCartney, David Crosby, Amadou and Mariam and many others. She continues to pursue a successful career as an actress, including an acclaimed appearance in 2014´s Timbuktu (Le chagrin des oiseaux), which received both BAFTA and Academy Award nominations. Fatoumata, who won ‘Best Female Artist’ at last year’s African Talent Awards, recently co-starred in Damon Albarn and Abderrahmane Sissako’s theatre project Le Vol Du Boli.