She stood on the stage lost in her own musical world. Her slender frame draped in a resplendent African print with a matching Masai-like bead adorning her neck, stroking gently soothing grooves off her guitar. Her sensuous, alluring voice rising calmly whiles letting out short, congratulatory smiles as if to applaud her own performance.
The hundreds who filled the terraces of Alliance Francaise last Saturday, stood or sat attentively; engrossed in the beautiful and serenading music that the Ivorian born, Malian songstress, Fatoumata Diawara churned for almost two hours.
With her 3-man band-a drummer and two guitarists, Fatoumata, in her calm disposition would, after each musical delivery throw to the crowd the ‘Are You OK?’ rhetorical question or scream ‘Africa’ with the enchanted crowd responding with glee.
She performed series of songs from her trove including those that celebrated women empowerment (she threw a big shout out to African legend Angelique Kidjoe), chiding Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and the emotive and chilling movie soundtrack Timbuktu, in which she starred.
The veneer of calmness worn by Fatoumata Diawara for close to an hour finally fell off, revealing a singer with abundant energy, charisma and dance skills. She took the excitement notches higher and the crowd-a mix of Ghanaians and expats- responded in same measure-adhering to her command to dance in a particular fashion.
Sherrifa Gunu who opened the night and the multi-talented artist Wanlov made a cameo appearance, joining Fatoumata on stage. A section of the crowd were by that moment on the stage wilding out.
Despite bowing out to an overwhelming applause, one of Fatoumata’s guitarist asked the audience if they wanted an encore. That request was gladly and graciously offered by this amazing artist and her band. The Fatoumata Diawara Concert places second on the list of concerts I have seen this year-the first obviously is the FOKN Party headlined by the FOKN Bois.
Fatoumata’s music is spiritually intoned. Her performance was simple yet carried a ring of sophistication. It’s invigorating as well as traditionally African. She exhibited a knack of great talent; one that got you seat strapped, watching her in awe as well as getting you springing out of your hypnotism into an unquenchable state of reverie.
As she revealed to the gathered audience, this was her first time in Accra, Ghana and referred to the fans ‘my first audience’. On the account of what transpired last Saturday, Fatoumata would leave Accra knowing she has a massive fan base.
Fatoumata Diawara was in town to officially commence a week long Francophone Festival Celebrations which runs from 12th to 19th March, 2016. The festival will celebrate and showcase Francophone culture through music, comedy, drama and arts.