Whether we realize it or not, there are yearnings that reside within us, sometimes hidden, sometimes brimming at the surface. There are moments where these occasions of eagerness are begging to be nourished, presenting a conflicting exchange between pursuing those desires, or ultimately remaining unspoken.
Les Amazones d’Afrique, an all-female supergroup brought to life by eminent Malian music prodigies and social change activists Mamani Keïta, Oumou Sangaré and Mariam Doumbia, are in pursuit of embracing the expression that we find ourselves craving. The collective are set to make their glorious return with a reinvented sound in their latest single, “Kuma Fo (What They Say)”. The new track features five distinct members singing in their native tongues, rising from the realms of Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Congo-Brazzaville. Upon the iconic voices of Mamani Keïta, Fafa Ruffino and Kandy Guira, the track proudly introduces activist and actress Alvie Bitemo, as well as Dobet Gnahoré, a renowned Ivorian artist.
Influenced by the declaration for gender equality and eradication of ancestral violence, Les Amazones d’Afrique intertwines pan-African styles and synergetic melodies, fused with contemporary pop amongst the depths of their distinctive lyrics. Their newest single immediately establishes an essence of female power: “Mon zouha pih he, êh zoua pièh pih (She preserves life, gives the first breath), ” calling upon the unparalleled influence of the female species. “‘Kuma Fo’ is about women’s freedom of expression.” Bitemo says. “It’s about speaking up–not asking, not waiting for us to be given the floor. We need to seize it.”
The tender, yet compelling collective continuously grant vigor and femininity to take residency in their discography, as well as flawlessly coexist, emulating a voice for every woman. “When you look at the Amazons of Dahomey, it was female warriors who made the decisions and took power. It feels like since colonization, certain countries in Africa have moved further away from women’s rights. And in this song, we say that if you bring life into the world, you educate, you organize the family, then you should reclaim your power: your female power,” says Bitemo.
Les Amazones d’Afrique’s “Kuma Fo (What They Say)” debuts today, and is to be followed by album Musow Danse in late February of 2024.