Mow Records proudly presents L’enfants De Kita, the third album from a series of five, all produced by label owner Mowgan. Each album features vocalists and performers with African heritage, channeling Mowgan’s passion for the continent’s diverse sounds into vibrant, highly emotive productions. On L’enfants De Kita he teams up with Fanta Sayon Sissoko, a female performer from West African nation Mali. Based in Toulouse, where the album was recorded, Fanta’s musical roots go deep - her father played guitar and ngoni for Baaba Maal and her grandmother is Kandia Kouyaté, one of Mali’s best-known griot singers.
Mowgan always dreamed of working with a female singer from Mali, enchanted by their vocal style. After moving back to France a few years ago he bumped into Eric Diaouré, an old friend who he worked with in his teens. Eric is also a musician and just so happens to be from Mali. Mowgan revealed his ambitions to Eric and a meeting with Fanta was arranged - within a few days they were in the studio together.
Like the other albums in this series, L’enfants De Kita is a fusion of Mowgan’s love for African music and his penchant for electronic sounds. Fanta’s raw, affecting vocals are complemented by Mowgan’s considered production throughout with additional instrumentation from a range of performers, including a group of schoolchildren on ‘Tubani’. Featured artists include Solo Sanou (whose album ‘Soya’ was the second release on Mow Records) playing percussion, Mamadou ‘Madou’ Dembele, a multi-instrumentalist who plays ngoni, Yohan Hernandez on guitar and bass plus Madani Touré aka Chanana (a famous Malian rapper from the nineties) contributing to lead vocals on the album’s title track, with Tim Xavier handling mastering.
Mowgan’s approach to creating albums is to get a vibe going with the singer, produce a batch of songs and then select the best seven for each LP. It’s a pressure-free attitude that has led to some truly heartfelt productions, which encapsulate the purity of the creative process when it’s liberated from rigid constraints. You can hear this freedom of expression throughout L’enfants De Kita, Fanta in her element as she sings with passion and grace across all seven tracks.
The album begins with the title song ‘L’enfants De Kita’, which pays homage to Fanta’s hometown, Kita, in Mali. It is the centre of griotism, the local style of passing on knowledge from one generation to the next via spoken-word storytelling. Chanana joins Fanta on this one, which is the most ‘western’ sounding cut on the LP, Mowgan’s deft touch taking us to the dance floor, while Chanana adds extra depth with his rapid-fire vocal refrain. The glorious ‘Tubani’ tells the story of Djene Tubani, a girl who thought she was a bird. She disobeys her parents and neglects her friends, but eventually learns the error of her ways. Fanta’s vocals are amplified by the voices of a group of schoolchildren, including her own daughter.
‘Mobaya’ is a reminder that we can possess wisdom and deep knowing, but we can also enjoy ourselves; dance, sing and party. This is a club-focused production with 4x4 beats and a traditional house feel, which provide a wonderful accompaniment to Fanta’s uplifting vocals. Next up is ‘Dakan’, a cut which is all about destiny: Everyone has been put on Earth for a reason and by working together we can all achieve our destiny. Layers of percussion skip over the warm low end, with a lively trumpet appearing in the second half.
‘Dounouya’ explores the notion that we live in a world where everyone faces negative criticism. Fanta encourages us to take responsibility and move forward no matter what others think of us with this inspiring guitar-led cut. ‘Djonya’ highlights the fact that slavery still exists in today’s world - modern slavery, hidden from public view but still very much alive. “Our Africa is going to be okay if we all hold hands, if we are all together, all united,” she says. Finally,‘Badeya’, a great outtro which focuses on unity. We are all one family on this planet and this song speaks of people coming together but also respecting ourselves above everything else. The pace is slow and the instrumentation perfectly balanced to allow Fanta’s vocals to flourish.