Of the many things about “Souna” that sticks with me, the visceral power of Namian Sidibé’s voice rises above. Borne from the sumu (or praise singer) tradition and imbued with an earthy timbre, the Malian artist sparks melodies to life and turns them into an eternal ether. Her cousin, Jules Diabaté, accompanies on acoustic guitar, adding skeletal tones with a rhythmic pull, helping Sidibé’s music to connect multiple worlds. “Souna” shares the story of Sona, “a famous maker of fetish objects” known throughout the region, and Sidibé’s voice is instantly captivating, causing us to instinctively lean in. Vocal passages swirl and rise as no world could contain its compelling strength.
Sidibé has cultivated a burgeoning social media following, leveraging modern platforms to push these generational songs and poems into new avenues and stamping her unique approach to these practices. She is a true force.
Her self-titled debut album will be released May 19 by Sahel Sounds. Pre-order HERE.
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