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West African supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique assert women’s freedom of expression with new single

The all-female African supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique, a collective which has included some of the biggest stars in African music, make a triumphant return with a brand-new sound on their latest single, ‘Kuma Fo (What They Say)’.

The track features five different members of the collective singing in their native languages from the countries Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Congo-Brazzaville. Alongside the familiar voices of Mamani Keïta, Fafa Ruffino and Kandy Guira, the track features new members Alvie Bitemo, an activist and actress originally from Congo-Brazzaville, and renowned Ivorian artist Dobet Gnahoré.

“‘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.”

“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.”

The beautiful, uplifting accompanying music video for ‘Kuma Fo’ was mostly filmed in Morocco during the band’s visit to perform at the legendary Gnaoua World Music Festival in Essaouira last summer.

Following two critically-acclaimed albums République Amazone (2017) and Amazones Power (2020) working with the idiosyncratic Congotronics producer Doctor L, the band have now collaborated with Jacknife Lee (U2, Modest Mouse, Taylor Swift) on their forthcoming third album Musow Danse to embrace a powerful pop sound led by 808s and glitchy synths and drawing from contemporary hip-hop and trap influences.

‘Kuma Fo (What They Say)’ is out on 25 October 2023. The album, Musow Danse, will be released on CD, LP and digitally via Real World Records on 16 February 2024. Les Amazones d’Afrique begin their European tour in January 2024.

Les Amazones d’Afrique - Live 2024

30 JAN 24 JUVISY-SUR-ORGE Les Bords de Scènes

02 FEB 24 GLASGOW St. Luke’s

15 FEB 24 PANTIN La Dynamo

16 FEB 24 SAINT-SYMPHORIEN-D’OZON Espace Culturel Louise Labe 29 FEB 24 SCEAUX Les Gémeaux Scène Nationale

02 MAR 24 SAINT-DIZIER Les Fuseaux

27 MAR 24 OYONNAX Centre Culturel Louis Aragon

More about Les Amazones d’Afrique:

Les Amazones d’Afrique is a creative force that embraces international voices; sweet, strong harmonies that summon the rights of women and girls; and a meltdown of heritage and new gen talent. They were formed in Bamako, Mali, in 2014 by three renowned Malian music stars and social change activists, Mamani Keïta, Oumou Sangaré and Mariam Doumbia, and the collective has since expanded to involve many female artists from across Africa and the diaspora, including Angélique Kidjo, Nneka and rising Malian star Rokia Koné.

While their cause — campaigning for gender equality and eradicating ancestral violence — is worthy enough in itself, their musical creative expression is equally powerful. Richly melodic and far-ranging, it blends pan-African styles and collaborative harmonies with gritty, contemporary pop. The band’s two previous albums have garnered considerable acclaim — The Guardian’s Top 50 albums of 2017, NPR Music’s best albums of 2020, and featuring on Barrack Obama’s playlist. They have performed on Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid stage and featured on flagship BBC music show Later... with Jools Holland.

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