Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Track of the Week

Fatoumata Diawara – Nayan

This week’s track comes from a very different character that also graced the stages of Glastonbury a few weeks back. It gives us great pleasure to present Fatoumata Diawara and her song Nayan.

Diawara is great. Vibrant, youthful, strong and switched-on. She sings in her native tongue Bambara and lives in Paris with her Italian husband. An active and vocal member of Mali’s musical elite, she is quickly becoming an influential spokesperson – or “ambassador” as some have described it – for her people in France. She’s also got a spritely Twitter account which might be worth a follow.

Luckily, we’ve found a YouTube link that has translation of “Nayan” from Bambara to English. No verifications are available, but according to the person who posted the video:

 ‘Nayan’ in Bambara can be translated into a number of meanings depending on the context it is used; it can mean ‘Problem’, ‘Near Tears’, ‘Bad consequences’, ‘terrible drama’, ‘endurance’ and so on. Within the context of this song; Diawara refers to the problems women face within Malian traditional norms and the suffering women endure within what many would interpret as ‘Male dominated’ societies that African traditions and cultures across the continent convey.

A classic example of the kind of statement Diawara builds  into her music. Emancipating and stirring, soothing and rich.
Fatoumata Diawara – Nayan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *