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Hailed as one of the most vital artists in modern African music, Fatoumata Diawara returns to Savannah after her SMF debut on a co-bill with Bombino in 2014. Born to Malian parents on the Ivory Coast in 1982, Diawara’s career began at the age of 19 with the French street theater company Royal de Luxe, which led to her backing American jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater and Malian superstar Oumou Sangaré. She has since recorded with Bobby Womack and Herbie Hancock, played Glastonbury and other major festivals and toured with Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca. A modern-day storyteller, she has most recently shared the stage with David Crosby and Snarky Puppy in an evening of topical protest songs at Carnegie Hall, providing “the night’s most striking moments,” according to Rolling Stone.
Winner of the 2014 AFRIMA (All Africa Music Awards) for “Best Female Artist in North Africa,” Noura Mint Seymali is Mauritania’s defining artist on the international stage. Drawing deep on the timeless repertoire of the Moorish griot, a hereditary class of musical poet/historians, her band conjures “a full blown sandstorm of hypnotic grooves, melding traditional Mauritanian instruments, like the ardine (harp) and tidinite (lute), within an electrified psychedelic rock band” (The Quietus). Expanding a sound born of Arabian and Sub-Saharan roots, Noura Mint Seymali bends the arc of Moorish musical tradition.