Hailing from the Wassoulou forest region of Mali, singer Oumou Sangare helped modernize the acoustic-native mix of hunters' songs and sogoninkun dance music she grew up with. Finding her way to the city of Abidjan in 1989, Sangare cut a cassette that would eventually sell close to a quarter of a million copies; it became her debut disc, compliments of the World Circuit label. And while she would go on to cut albums with a mix of traditional and tastefully chosen Western elements, Moussoulou captures Sangare in all her sensual acoustic glory. Undulating atop a musical base featuring violin, the djembe goblet drum, a call-and-response choir, and the kamalengoni harp, Sangare daringly speaks out against such traditional practices as polygamy and arranged marriages. She fleshes out these modern views -- for Mali and many other African countries, at least -- with songs that both encourage her countrymen to recognize women as individuals and focus on a girl's struggle to reconcile old values with modern needs. A find for fans of West African folk-pop music.
Stephen Cook - allmusic.com