Fatoumata Diawara is a Malian musician currently living in France. She was born in 1982 in Côte d’Ivoire to Malian parents. She moved to France to pursue acting and made appearances in a 1999 feature film titled “La Genèse” and also in Sia, le rêve du python (2001), in the internationally renowned street theatre troupe Royal de Luxe, and played a leading role in the musical Kirikou et Karaba.
Diawara later began composing her own material, writing songs that blend Wassalou traditions of Southern Mali with international influences. She is noted for her “sensuous voice,”. Her popularity soon spread like wild fire as she has performed and recorded with Malian and international greats such as Cheick Tidiane Seck, Oumou Sangaré, AfroCubism, Dee Dee Bridgewater (on Red Earth: A Malian Journey), and the Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou.
The EP Kanou was released May 9, 2011 and also released digitally in North America on September 27, 2011 by Nonesuch Records. Diawara’s debut album Fatou from World Circuit Records was released in September 2011. In September 2012, she featured in a campaign called “30 Songs / 30 Days” to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book. The show which featured several celebrities like: Damon Albarn, Rokia Traoré, Baaba Maal, Amadou and Mariam, Nicolas Jaar, and the Noisettes, amongst many others. She performed in Kings Cross alongside Paul McCartney.
READ: Oumou Sangare Biography
Diawara has spent the recent years touring the world with a landmark performance for the English-speaking public at Glastonbury 2013. She has traveled to South America, Asia and Australia for gigs as well as on multiple trips to the US, where she performed as part of the Clinton Global Initiative alongside The Roots in New York in September 2013. Since mid-2014 she has been in collaboration with Roberto Fonseca, with numerous live performances and a joint live album, At Home – Live in Marciac, along the way.
In 2014 she also extended her list of collaborations by a joint performance with Mayra Andrade and Omara Portuondo. In February 2015, Diawara had her first live concert back home at the Festival Sur Le Niger in Ségou, Mali, where she shared stage once again with her long-time friend and mentor, Oumou Sangaré, with Bassekou Kouyaté and many other domestic acts.
Diawara has continued to perform in cinemas playing numerous roles, making several appearances and musical input in multiple feature films, such as the seven times César Award winning and Academy Award nominated 2014 Timbuktu.