Pop fightbacks come in many forms. This female collective of West African singers is dedicated to gender equality.
The group was formed in Bamako, Mali, in 2014 by three renowned Malian music stars and social change activists, Mamani Keïta, Oumou Sangaré and Mariam Doumbia (of Amadou & Mariam), and the collective has since expanded to involve many female artists from across Africa and the diaspora.
They have taken their name from the Dahomey Amazons. An all-female elite corps of elephant hunters and soldiers in Benin which recruited women who were disowned by their fathers or spouses because of their defiance, and that would become their family.
This particular family is musical and it speaks a powerful language (even though, practically, it sings in many!). Les Amazones d’Afrique reject being part of a system that has historically oppressed them! They sing about female genital mutilation, domestic abuse and global disconnect.
Their debut album, République Amazone (2017), featured guest contributions from the likes of Angélique Kidjo and Nigerian singer-songwriter Nneka and was a proud, forceful demonstration of the strength and variety of modern African music, brilliantly combined by producer Liam Farrell from Mbongwana Star into arrangements where funk, Afrobeat, desert blues, dub and congotronics swirl around the women’s voices.
In 2020, they released their follow-up album, Amazones Power, on which familiar voices like Mamani Keïta and Rokia Koné appear alongside a younger generation of singers who represent the exciting new sound of modern Africa. The album has reaped stellar reviews all round – so it definitely worth seeking out! Both albums are released on Peter Gabriel’s label, Real World Records.
Lots of bass and percussion will get your body moving when you dance along to songs that sing for a better future for women across the world. Powerful stuff!
Don’t miss out on the amazing Les Amazones d’Afrique when they play Roskilde Festival 2020.