Les Amazones d’Afrique are back in January 2020 with Amazones Power, the sequel to their widely acclaimed 2017 debut album, Republique Amazone. The debut album was one of the global smashes of that year and it resonated in all continents.
Les Amazones d’Afrique are dedicated and fearless in addressing misogyny and violence. Their songs explore sexual identity, forced marriage and their work has been instrumental in raising awareness about the barbaric practice of FGM (female genital mutilation, or “cutting”). Their new single Smile considers how the suffering of women has extended over the centuries and their music aims to break that cycle. “While [the singer] expresses her feelings and fears, she also encourages women to stick together in the fight against inequality, hoping for a positive future, full of joy and lucidity, and free from pain and neglect,” explains Tiguidanké Diallo, a.k.a Niariu, from Les Amazones d’Afrique collective.
The collective are named in homage to generations of courageous and proud warrior women – as well as the ground-breaking 1960s female pop group, Les Amazones de Guinee. Their global tours, media savvy and unrelenting focus on women’s issues throughout the world have made them a compelling and undeniable force.
“We are all coming together to change the rules that have been established for centuries,” Niaru adds. “Women are taking over the world, you know! We want to make our sisters and mothers understand that it’s up to us what makes us happy and fulfilled.”
The sound of the album blends pan-African styles and collaborative harmonies with contemporary pop, though the subject matter and sometimes ferocity in their flow give it a characteristic and irresistible edge. The Congotronix-style production of renowned producer Doctor L (aka Liam Farrell) is also immediately recognisable and he mixed and mastered the record in Dakar and Paris.
This time, Les Amazones reach has extended even further, bringing in new voices and rising stars from across Africa, including Beninese vocalist Fafa Ruffino, whose versatile range connects the musical influence of her Ghanaian grandmother, gospel and soul genres. There are also touchstones with cultural styles across the continent, from Nigeria to Burkina Faso.
For the first time their music also features young male vocalists – in this case, Douranne (Boy) Fall and Magueye Diouk (Jon Grace) from Paris-based outfit Nyoko Bokbae. As Ruffino points out, this is a natural progression: “The new generations are rising against traditions, especially in Africa,” says Ruffino. “So, you have many young men in women’s right associations, going door to door to inform the youngest. So it’s completely fair to have them on board with us. Nyoko Bokbae are incredible; the messages they have are strong and energising.”
The album is out on January 24th 2020.
Les Amazones d’Afrique are:Fafa Ruffino, Kandy Guira, Mamani Keita, Boy-Fall, Jon Grace, Marta Domingo, Aminata Dramé a.k.a Nakou, Tiguidanké Diallo a.k.a Niariu, Roselyne Belinga, Nancy Murillo, Moesha13, Nacera Ouali Mesbah, Valérie Tribord, Valérie Belinga, Abby Surya, Patricia Essong