Awa Sangho
Awa Sangho


“Awa Sangho is a proud daughter and a shining star of West Africa.” – Banning Eyre

Multi-Talented Malian Singer/Songwriter and “Afropolitan”

AWA SANGHO Debuts As a Solo Artist on Motéma Music

With The Entrancing CD ALA TA

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Multi-talented Malian singer/songwriter Awa Sangho is a charismatic new solo star on the world music scene. After singing with Salif Keita, Ali Farka Toure, Oumou Sangare, Manu Dibango, Amadou & Mariam and the pioneering all-girl group Les Go De Koteba she co-founded, Awa left Bamako in 2011 to move to New York City to commit to her own creative life. The beautiful original songs on Ala Ta (The Truth Belongs to God), her masterful debut on Motéma Music, represent her “Afropolitan” experience of leaving Africa but never leaving it behind.

Born in Desert of Mali. Born in the desert land of Mali, Awa was raised in Dire, a community in the southern edge of the Sahara about 70 kilometers south of Timbuktu, a region noted for generating world-class musicians and singers. Her earliest memories are of a childhood in which song and dance was her response to life observations and the best way to share stories. Ala Ta draws upon these rich life experiences and realizes her long-held goal of presenting her personal musical vision as a cultural ambassador to the world. Unique, Socially Conscious Artist. Known for a stunning voice and high-energy shows featuring her drumming and dancing, Awa is a unique and original artist dedicated to equality for women, security for children and unity of all Africans everywhere. Her socially conscious lyrics address controversial cultural traditions, her hopes for mothers and their children, and her reverence for the people who have forged her path. The music percolates with the rhythms and resonance of Africa – of Mali but also of the Ivory Coast and Senegal, countries she has also called home, and of Guinea, land of her early mentor, the recently departed Soulemane Koly from the legendary Ensemble Koteba. Her childhood learning, to express life through performance, has matured into a beautiful blend of poetry, music and dance she offers to us. Written and composed by Awa and produced her life partner, the accomplished world-music musician, Daniel Moreno (Salif Keita, Cheick Tidiane Seck, Dr. Lonnie Smith), Ala Ta was recorded in Mali, Senegal, California and in New York City. The project features Awa on vocals, chorus and percussion, Mao Otayek (Tony Allen, Stevie Wonder) on vocals, guitar and bass guitar; and Moreno on percussion. Special guests include: Bari, Aicha Camara, Sidiki Diabate, Tomas Gueye, Gordon Heldberger, Basekou Kouytate, Lasine Kouyate, Aja Salvatore, Herve Samb, Habib Sangare, Charif Sumano and Zumana Tarretta. Ala Ta. Sung mostly in Bambara, the CD opens with the ethereal title track, an affirmation of living in faith that is beautifully shown on the video companion piece. “Neba Nifa” is a floating song of Thanksgiving to her parents. Following the energizing interlude “Tambin y Tambor” is “Denko,” which celebrates the communal approach to child rearing in Africa and is partly song in Wolof, common to Senegal. The vibrant “Danfin” shares that we are all creators and must unite to build a better world. For “Nangaraba,” about a mischievous little girl, Awa adapted a traditional song she heard in her youth, lending it more of rock/pop feel. Next is “Denmisenew,” a joyful interlude of voices of children who visited Awa’s house every day in Bamako. “Bamounan” is a praise song dedicated to parents, especially mothers who carry their baby on their backs. The blues-tinged “Emama” is sung in the Guerze language of Guinea, the ancestral home of Awa’s late ex-husband and mentor Koly, whom she thanks in this song. “Dofana” – dedicated to Ali Farka Toure – is a traditional praise song for a king. Awa sings it in Tamaschek and also in the original Songhai language, which she learned when she reconnected to her Songhai ancestry while working with “Uncle Ali.” After the interlude “N’Djarka y Tambor,” which features the djarka, a one-string fiddle from Mali, comes “Somafolo,” a sad, true story about Awa leaving the Ivory Coast and having to leave her young son with his father. The moving “Naigaikorosigui” closes the disc with its haunting meditation on the cultural tradition of cutting women’s genitalia, a taboo subject Awa implores us to address.


Born and educated in Bamako, Awa moved to Abidjan in the Ivory Coast as a young girl and quickly became immersed in its music and dance scene. Soon she began to travel the world with the well-regarded performance group L’Ensemble Koteba D’Abidjan. Known simply as Ensemble Koteba, the group was noted for its electric blend of theatre, music, chant and dance, and it offered Awa a rare opportunity to perform professionally and explore her diverse talents. Then Awa, along with two other women performers, formed Les Go De Koteba, a splinter group of the original Ensemble Koteba. With the focus now on music, the women produced and recorded five popular albums, which quickly spurred worldwide touring. Many of the compositions on those albums were conceived of and written by Awa, who became sought after by world-renowned musicians including Salif Keita, whose note of affection for this proud daughter and shining star of West Africa graces the CD. In all Ala Ta mesmerizes with its introduction of Awa Sangho’s life stories.



Artist News

August 19, 2014

We are excited to announce the Motéma and solo album debut ‘Ala [ More ]

ALL NEWS FOR: Awa Sangho

On Tour

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