2018 Vocal African Pop Afrobeat Repressed (“Something to Say” in Bambara) finds Diawara engaged on an outreach programme, making contemporary roots music about themes that range from the specifically African – Kanou Dan Yen lambasts the tradition that stops different ethnic groups intermarrying – to the universal. Don Do, the album closer, finds Diawara aching about unrequited love to a sparse accompaniment: her electric guitar and Vincent Ségal’s cello. Fenfo’s most seductive marriages of ancient and modern have already come out: Nterini, the lead track, and the mesmeric Kokoro.
Nonetheless, the depths of the tracklisting are a surprise. Ridiculously easy on the ear, Bonya (Respect) spikes 60s US R&B with kora runs courtesy of both Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté, while Dibi Bo comes to Anglophone ears as finger-clicking doo-wop that also invites you to sing along; exercise caution, however, on Negue Negue.