Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara (aka Fatou) was born in the Ivory Coast in 1982 then raised in Mali. As a child she became a member of her father's dance troupe and was a popular performer of the wildly flailing didadi dance from Wassoulou, her ancestral home in western Mali. She was an energetic and headstrong girl and at the age of twelve her refusal to go to school finally prompted her parents
to send her to live and be disciplined by an aunt in Bamako. She was not to see her parents again for over a decade.
Her aunt was an actress, and...