CJLO DJ Spotlight: Fatoumata Touré

Fatoumata Touré’s music is a piece of herself, a memory of earlier times in her home country of Mali.

Pressed into the seat of her father’s 4×4, she recalls driving across the capital city of Bamako to visit her grandmother, with the music of West Africa blaring in the background.

The host of CJLO’s Safari, Touré knows the ins and outs of African music, but admits that she plays mostly Western African music, with French and Bambara lyrics.

“Music plays an extremely important role in Mali,” says Touré. “French is the official language, […] however, most people only speak Bambara, of which there is no written language, so all of our history and stories come from music.”

Mali, a landlocked country that borders Senegal, Niger and a handful of others, is roughly the size of Quebec.

The northern section of the country is mostly occupied by the Sahara Desert. Needless to say, the weather stands in stark contrast to that of the typical Canadian winter.

People are always asking Touré why she moved, and how she deals with the cold.

She says that the difference is that in Mali, “it can get so hot, you can’t do anything. You just have to stay indoors, hopefully near an air conditioner.”

On those hot summer days, Touré would listen to new music from France, Europe and worldwide.

She fell in love with it all and dreamed about a new world outside of Africa. It was only once she left that she gained a new appreciation for African music.

Touré first got involved in radio at CBAU in Winnipeg four years ago. After one year in Winnipeg, she transferred to Concordia, where she is studying Actuarial Mathematics and Communications.

Her dreams and aspirations now include a pilgrimage trip back home.

“If I could, I would open a new Bambara television station in Bamako,” says Touré. “They do have stations there now, but they are a mix of French and Bambara.”

While Touré studies to accomplish that dream, she volunteers at CJLO so she can share her music with others, while reminiscing about her family and personal stories connected to the music she plays.

Stories like how her father was a “repeat offender” with his music—when he found a song he liked, he would play it until it was firmly ingrained in everyone’s mind.

She remembers all the songs to this day, and recanting the beauty of fellow Milanese artist Salif Keïta still brings a smile to her face. Keïta is one of many artists that Touré showcases in Safari.

Once a week she gets to sink into the chair at the CJLO studio and share that drive with her audience.

She has the chance to reminisce about her country, her family and her friends. She invites you to ride along, by listening to Safari, every Friday at 2 p.m. on CJLO 1690 AM.

Review: Lanterns on the Lake »

« Review: SBDC Dancers Bring the LOVE

By commenting on this page you agree to the terms of our Comments Policy.