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Country Senegal Mali Switzerland Genres roots urban hiphop fusion www.facebook.com/thaisdiarra Festival Sauti za Busara 2015, 2020 Recordings
Metisse, 2014; Danaya, 2016
Thaïs Diarra is a nu-soul singer with roots in Mali and Senegal. She was born in Switzerland, to a music-loving mother and a bass-playing father. Since Thaïs’ early years, music was a refuge, a moral recourse to the racial prejudgement and questions about her mixed race identity. In her youth she was inspired by Afro-American music, reggae and by ‘singers who look like her’. She started young with her own hiphop group, featuring local rappers and musicians.
As a writer, composer and singer, Thaïs Diarra always raised questions in her texts, whilst carrying a message of positivity. In 2003 she went back to her roots, travelling to West Africa where she stayed for a long time. In Senegal she met the well-known rapper Didier Awadi. In 2004 she was welcomed as a member to the PBS Radical group. Together they toured in Africa and Europe, where Thaïs took part in performances, recordings and collaborations.
In 2005 she met Swiss musician and producer Fred Hirschy, with whom she started to collaborate on a more regular basis. The amazing results of this musical complicity are evident in two albums: Metisse (2014) and Danaya (2016), as well as a third album they are preparing for international release in 2020.
Recorded in Switzerland and Senegal, the essence of these recordings is in its mixture of African instruments such as kora and balafon, with new American soul vibes. With many influences including reggae, mbalax and Mandingue music, the music can essentially be described as ‘afro soul’.
Thaïs Diarra collaborated with several famous musicians on these albums, featuring Didier Awadi, Fredy Massamba, Gunman Xuman, Blitz the Ambassador and Noumoucounda Cissoko. Her lyrics include an impressive blend of English, French, Wolof and Bambara. The songs speak of celebrating sisterhood, of tolerance and hope, on exile, persecution and the day to day difficulties faced by Africans living at home and abroad.
Let Thaïs Diarra’s warm voice takes you on a journey, sensitive and heartfelt, to a place of discovery, meetings and celebration.This project is supported by the Swiss Arts Council, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg