Grammy-nominated Malian singer, songwriter, guitarist and actress Fatoumata Diawara is debuting her new song “Nsera” featuring Damon Albarn (Gorillaz, Blur) alongside an accompanying video directed by Gregory Ohrel (Orelsan, Jain, Residente).

The track is co-written and co-produced by Diawara with Albarn, with whom she previously worked in the ensembles Africa Express and Rocket Juice & The Moon. Singing and playing keyboards on the track, Albarn’s added touch of melancholy and modernity gave rise to a neologism coined by Diawara: Londonko, an imagined continent bringing Europe and Africa together.

Diawara notes that “Nsera” means “destination” in Bambara, the official language of her native Mali. She adds that the mantra behind the song is “human relationships, hospitality and generosity.” The new single is an exploration into the heart of African diversity that Fatoumata began with her 2013 single “Mali-ko,” which brought together upward of forty artists from all regions of Mali on a song for peace. “One day I went on a journey,” Diawara sings on the new single. “Whom did I meet? Brothers and sisters, I met my friends/Whom did I meet? My brethren, I met my siblings/They asked me where I came from, I told them from Maliba/They asked me where I was going, I told them to my fatherland/People rejoiced with me, as I reached, reached, reached, I reached home.

“Nsera” is the first single from Diawara’s forthcoming album set for release this coming Spring, 2023; additional album details to follow shortly.

Diawara broke out in 2011 with her debut album, Fatou, which featured guest performances from legendary musicians John Paul Jones, Tony Allen and Toumani Diabaté. The record was hailed by Pitchfork as a “beguiling album” that “simply surrounds you with its atmosphere,” while The Guardian praised it as “an enjoyable, impressive set.” She received two nominations at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards for Best World Music Album for her 2018 album Fenfo and Best Dance Recording for “Ultimatum” in which she was featured with the English artist Disclosure

One of 11 children born to Malian parents in the Ivory Coast, she grew up in the ’90s in the Malian capital of Bamako. A celebrated child actor, Diawara starred in Dani Kouyaté’s critically acclaimed 2001 film Sia, The Dream of the Python. At age 19 she left home against the wishes of her family and joined the French street theatre company Royale de Luxe, with whom she toured the world and began singing in the clubs and cafes of Paris. Diawara eventually found herself singing backing vocals for Dee Dee Bridgewater and Malian superstar Oumou Sangaré before signing with the influential label World Circuit Records for her debut album. In addition to Sia…, Diawara’s film credits include the Academy Award-nominated Timbuktu, Morbayassa and Clouds of Conakry, as well as the documentaries The Africa Express and Mali Blues.