A vital standard-bearer of modern African music, singer, songwriter, and guitarist Fatoumata Diawara’s artistry defines her as the voice of West African womanhood. She’s proud of her Malian roots, yet boldly experimental with stinging electric guitar lines, kit drums, and the tight rhythms of traditional percussion. In slow-burning blues to simmering funk, syncopated Afro-pop to gentle lullabies, Fatoumata’s riveting sound is burnished by her penetrating, redolent singing.
With performances at Glastonbury and other major music festivals, she has worked with some of the biggest names in contemporary music, including Bobby Womack, Herbie Hancock, Oumou Sangaré, Toumani Diabaté, Sir Paul McCartney, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Habib Koité. As an activist, Fatoumata shares her message and experience with audiences around the globe, campaigning against injustice and trumpeting the truth that all people belong to the same human race regardless of color, ethnicity, or religion. “Don’t sing just to sing,” she emphasizes. “Sing to change things, to make things better.”
“Incendiary” (The New York Times) and “hypnotic” (Rolling Stone), Fatoumata Diawara’s performances “scream with energy” (NPR).
8 p.m. Tues., April 25 • Williams Center for the Arts • Tickets: Free for Lafayette students; $10 Lafayette faculty and staff; $29 general public; $6 student and youth, available through the Williams Center for the Arts ticket office, open Noon to 2 p.m. and 4-5:30 p.m. weekdays, and one-hour prior to performance; by phone at 610-330-5009; and online at williamscenter.lafayette.edu