Oslo World 2021 opens at Rockefeller on November 2nd, with one of Mali's greatest voices - Oumou Sangaré.
She has been a singer all her life, and while many listeners today will be quite well versed in music from Mali and other west african countries as part of what we recognize as the global music culture, perhaps we have to remind ourselves that it wasn’t always like that. In 1989, she sold 200.000 copies of her debut album “Moussoulou”, meaning “women”, in African countries. Then she signed with the London based label World Circuit, whereupon she quite simply conquered the world, with concerts from Oslo to Melbourne, from Roskilde Festival to WOMAD.
Sangaré has won the UNESCO International Music Prize, for her musical merits, but also her inexhaustible effort for peace and international cooperation. She is an ambassador for the World Food Programme, and she has been nominated for several Grammys. She has collaborated with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Meshell Ndegeocello, Alicia Keys and Dee Dee Bridgewater. She has also visited Oslo World twice before - the first time in 1997, the second in 2009, where she featured Fatoumata Diawara in her band, who since then has become one of the big Oslo World favourites. She has also performed at the Øya Festival in Oslo.
Ana Moura, one of the biggest stars of fado, performs at Sentrum Scene on November 3rd.
Ana Mouras voice has gotten far. Not only is she one of the great fado singers in the world today. She has performed with artists such as Rolling Stones, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Herbie Hancock and Prince. She has lent her voice to songs from other traditions and today, more than ever, she is an artist who recognizes no boundaries to her music.
Fado obviously holds a unique position in Portugal, and Moura represents the exhilarating range of the tradition - from gorgeous intimate moments to ecstasy and dancing. Moura has also incorporated genres such as jazz, funk, flamenco and samba in her music, and on her newest song, “Andorinhas', from 2021, she expands her musical map of the world further. She follows her family's background to the african continent, and shows the influence a singer like the Angolan singer Bonga has had on her. In this way, she challenges the idea of purity in national traditions - and she ensures that her music reaches an even wider range of listeners.
At last the closing concert of Oslo World will take place in Oslo Konserthus on November 7th, with the pop cultural icon Jane Birkin.
There are enough triumphs, tragedies and fascinating detours in Jane Birkins life to fill a bookshelf. But interestingly enough, the 2020 project «Oh! Pardon, tu dormais...» was the very first time the english actor and singer recorded music with her own lyrics. The french cult musician Etienne Daho convinced her to base songs on a play by the same name, which Birkin wrote 20 years ago. It has become an album filled with the sensibility and life experience one might expect from this unique figure in European popular culture.
Where to start? The obvious place is the 1969 single “Je t'aime... moi non plus”, which was the beginning of her musical collaboration with Serge Gainsbourg, who also was her life partner for a period. The song was scandalous in its time, banned on radio stations in several countries. Birkins whispery vocals were unheard of in its time - and to this day, it really is something else. But Birkin and Gainsbourg had a lot more in store, and two years after “Je t’aime”, their collaboration culminated in the legendary album “Histoire de Melody Nelson”, a surreal, erotical sonic adventure about events transpiring when the Birkin character Melody Nelson collides with Gainsbourg’s Rolls Royce. It is sublime and immersive, due to both the voice acting from Birkin and Gainsbourg, in addition to the innovative arrangements by Jean-Claude Vannier. “Melody Nelson '' is, simply put, one of the great art pop albums, its influence heard in the music of Beck, Air, Stereolab and so on.