May 19, 2016

“Fatou to play small, intimate show in Troy”

Date published: 04/28/2016
Publication: The Saratogian

By Bob Goepfert

TROY >> The popularity of musical genres is a complicated thing to figure out. For instance rap, which not long ago was an urban phenomena is now so main stream that “Hamilton,” a Broadway show featuring rap music, just won the Pulitzer Prize for a musical.

In the same confusing way the Malian recording artist, dancer and actress Fatoumata Diawara, better known as Fatou, who regularly plays arenas and stadiums through the world is performing tomorrow night at the very small 200-seat space in the Sanctuary for Independent Media in North Troy.

Steve Pierce, the Executive Director of the Alliance expresses some frustration about the lack of attention being paid to the concert. “If this act were in any major city in the country it would be regarded as an important happening.”

Being a realist, Piece says he understands that because Fatou’s music falls into the broad category of World Music, she does not have a large following in the area. He also believes that there is a misunderstanding of what she and her genre are all about.

“Fatou is a brilliant performer. She has passion, theatricality and an amazing voice. Her music is a reflection of the world around us and touches you emotionally while being enormously satisfying.”

Pierce says he first experienced a Fatou performance two or three years ago at a Boston showcase for World Music artists.

“She blew me away and I’ve worked to get her here ever since,” he said.

Needless to say, it has been a difficult dream. Fatou plays large venues both as a headliner and as part of festivals. The Sanctuary got this date because it is the night before she appears at a festival in New Hampshire and with the date open on her calendar, she’s is playing in North Troy rather than idling the night in a local hotel.

However, Pierce does point out that Fatou and her band is essentially playing for expenses and that is because the singer supports the mission of Sanctuary for Independent Media. That mission is to be “dedicated to community media arts and provide a meeting place for artists, activists and independent media maker of all kinds.”

Mali is a small African state that has seen its share of political and social problems, including a take-over of part of the country by Islamic extremists. Piece says one of Fatou’s great gifts is that “her music is reflection of the world around us. Her music talks about the future for people who have lived peacefully of hundreds of years and now face turmoil. Being at a Fatou concert is a way to get to hear first-hand about world issues that concerns us all.”

He says a main issue in her songs is “the struggle to raise families and to have a peaceful life.”

What draws Pierce to Fatou is what he describe is her ability as an artist to address the problems of war, hunger, the abandonment of children, female circumcision and other serious issues in a positive manner.

“She’ll do a dark emotional song and turn it into a super uplifting number. She makes you smile, dance and feel excited and actually has you believing there are solutions to our problems.”

If you go
Who: Fatou
When: Friday, April 29 at 8 p.m.
Where: Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Avenue, North Troy.
Tickets: $25. 272-2390,

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