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Malouma

Singer, musician, activist, and politician from Mauritania

Armando Bellmas
Armando Bellmas
Malouma

Today on Ecléctico you're listening to some west African blues by Malouma. A life-long singer and musician, she is also a political activist for women's rights, musical education, and environmental protections in her native Mauritania in northwest Africa. You'll go deeper with an excerpt from a short article on BBC Radio 3.

"Yarab" by Malouma
2007 | Singer, musician, activist, and politician from Mauritania

Go deeper.
Malouma grew up in the rural Trarza region of South West Mauritania, and at the age of six began learning to sing and play the ardin (the ten-stringed Mauritanian harp) under the tuition of her father, a prominent musician/poet. Despite being steeped in tradition, he encouraged her to have a broad, outward-looking approach to music, and she thus discovered other African and Arab music as well as Western pop ­ in particular the blues. All these styles would later inform her song writing, which began when she was 16. Her lyrics dealt with subjects like love and divorce from a woman's perspective ­ something unheard of in such a conservative Muslim country ­so she attracted controversy. However, her artistic career faltered when she disappeared into a marriage. Add to that the fact that her music was banned by Mauritania's military government during the early 1990s, partly because of her public support for reconciliation between Mauritania's long-divided black and Moorish communities.

Mauritania