Fatoumata Diawara is an artist, activist and an Afrofuturist. Her music addresses issues affecting African society such arranged marriage, genital mutilation, domestic violence and campaigned against the trafficking and sale of black migrants in Libyan slave markets. Diawara has made it her mission to speak truth to power and sees herself as carrying on the work that has been started by such powerful voices as Miriam Makeba and Angélique Kidjo.

“Nterini” (which means “my love/my confidant”) touches on a universal theme, however– love. Not sung in English, but in Diawara’s native tongue (she is Malian) out of respect for her heritage, it tells a story of longing for love. About the song Diawara says, “This song is about the heartache felt by two lovers separated by distance. My love and my confidant has gone far away and has not sent any news back to me. I love him despite everything and I miss him every day. I want to hear from my darling; otherwise I cannot sleep well at night.” The fact that “Nterini” recently made The New York Times playlist proves that you don’t need to understand the language of the song to get into it.

“Nterini” is from Diawara’s sophomore album, Fenfo, which is set for release on Shanachie Entertainment.

Check out the stunning video for “Nterini” directed by Aïda Muluneh

Kimberly Kennedy Charles

I have questions. Artists have answers.