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Nahawa Doumbia


Nahawa Doumbia
Nahawa Doumbia


Born Maf‚l‚, Mali. Wassoulou singer Nahawa Doumbia was orphaned at an early age. She started singing as a young child and her chosen style was very much that of the new era, as she did not share the privilege of hereditary jeli status enjoyed by Tata Bambo Kouyat‚ or Nahini Diabet‚. Instead her billing is that of the Fula singer, where music is not the profession handed down from parents. In 1982, Doumbia won the first prize at the Biennalle Artistique, launching her professional career. Her fame spread further the following year when she gained another trophy at Radio France Internationale's D‚couverte awards. By 1984 she was part of the entertainment package for the France-Afrique Summit Meeting, illustrating her rapid rise.

After several cassette-only albums Doumbia made her debut proper in 1988 with her first European album, produced by Boncana Maiga for Syllart Records. Maigo brought in a team of experienced Cameroonian session players to help him perfect the follow-up, Nyama Toutou, released by Syllart and the Stern's Records label in 1990. Among many notable names on the credits was that of guitarist Rigo Star. He helped to forge a riveting collection of Bamana and Wassoulou music, updated through modern technological means into a melodic, dance-orientated whole.

The follow-up albums Mangoni (1993) and Yankaw (1997) saw Doumbia consolidating the reputation established by Nyama Toutou, building the bridges that led to the crossover success of Yaala. Released in 2000, the input of French producer Claude Barth‚l‚my helped Doumbia and her band create a near perfect update of traditional Wassoulou music. During the same period, Doumbia appeared on Frederic Galliano's acclaimed Frikyiwa Collection 1.


Didadi (Syllart 1988)***, Nyama Toutou (Syllart/Stern's 1990)****, Mangoni (Syllart/Stern's 1993)***, Yankaw (Cobalt 1997)***, Bougouni (Sono 1999)***, Yaala (Cobalt 2000)****, Diby (Cobalt 2004)***.

Music Albums:

Shanachie Records

Source: Encyclopedia of Popular Music
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