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SIA TOLNO Tickets, Tour Dates and %{concertOrShowText}
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About SIA TOLNO

Explosive: a woman takes up Afrobeat! The Yoruba, funk, jazz fusion of Afrobeat is rough, rowdy and political. It was introduced at the end of the 60s by the prince of the Nigerian resistance, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, as his country emerged from the brutal Biafran war. Fela was an “African King”, a fierce opponent of the corrupt military regime that finally sent troops to burn down the community founded by this “Black President”: the Kalakuta Republic. There, the soldiers threw his elderly mother from a window. Yet Guinea’s Sia Tolno is not afraid to take up Fela’s torch. Her third album, African Woman, challenges male supremacy in a forceful style derived from Ghanaian ‘high-life’. Africa’s history has sometimes been violent, but no more so than the belligerent West’s. Colonial Europe used rulers to trace improbable borders across the continent, dividing its peoples. Once such people was the Kissi, who were mainly Christian farmers living to the south of Guinea and straddling Sierra Leone and Liberia. Sia Tolno is a Kissi, her powerful voice backed by an unstoppable groove. Born in 1975 in Guéckédou, Guinea, she suffered from the major geopolitical upheavals in the region as it was torn apart by eleven years of civil war from 1991 à 2002, all because of the mines producing the “blood diamonds” the warlords craved. Sia Tolno had long planned to “take up Afrobeat, an angry music that can express what I want to say”. Sia is an English-speaker. She grew up in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone where her father taught French, and learned the pidgin English of Lagos that was Fela’s chosen dialect. She was treated harshly as a child, but her writing and poetry helped her to carry on. Then, just as she was wondering whether to study IT or drama, she found herself caught up in the war. She was twenty when the forces commanded by Liberia’s Charles Taylor plunged the region into bloody conflict. In desperation, she fled to Guinea, although she barely knew her family there and did not speak French. “I can see nothing good about war, nothing. War doesn’t bring truth, it opens doors that lead to dark places. It’s like a disease, it narrows minds. What can you do if you’re not sure you’ll still be alive at the end of the day? The war shattered my dreams and set me back,” explains the singer, who recently moved to France. So Sia Tolno decided to become an artist. She settled in Conakry and sang in its bars and night clubs. She describes this period of cigarettes, liquor and empty pockets in Malaya, a very soul number from her previous album, My Life. “In 1994, I started to sing at the Copains d’abord, a club opened by a Lebanese man called Mustapha, who helped me a lot. People saw night clubs as dens of iniquity at the time. Women weren’t in control.” Unlike the Mandingo with their singer caste, the Kissi had no griot troubadour tradition and Sia Tolno’s family could not “even imagine” her singing. Determined to become a star, she chose “great songs” by Westerners: Piaf, Whitney Houston, Nina Simone, Mariah Carey and Gloria Estefan. Sia had a powerful voice and a certain “black elegance” in her phrasing. In 2008, she represented her country in the first series of Africa Star (the Pan-African version of Making a Music Star), held in Gabon. Among the judges were the great musician and composer Pierre Akendengue and his new producer, José da Silva, who worked with Cesaria Evora. Akendengue was impressed: the young woman had a remarkable voice. When Sia Tolno released her first international album, Eh Sanga, in 2009 on the Lusafrica label, Guinea was again in the grip of civil unrest. The new head of state, Captain Dadis Camara, promised democratic elections, but his forces opened fire on the crowd gathered in Conakry stadium. Women were raped. Finally, in 2010, Alpha Condé was elected president. Yet, as Sia Tolno points out, Africa is eviscerated and despised, even by Africans. Now Sia Tolno was in search of a musical identity. On her two previous albums, Eh Sanga and My Life (2011 RFI prize), she had worked with Guineans - first, guitarist Kanté Manfila (a former member of Salif Keita’s Les Ambassadeurs) who died in 2011, and then Mamadou Camara, who had previously played guitar with the Kaloum Star band. Arranger François Bréant noticed Sia’s strong taste for Afrobeat on My Life. Today, she embraces it fully on African Woman, thanks to the complex contribution of Tony Allen, who was Fela’s drummer and artistic director from 1968 to 1979, until they found they were in serious political disagreement. Tony Allen has come up with an all-out groove backing for Sia. His Yoruba, funk and high-life percussion weaves a tapestry of multiple beats, injecting an explosion of energy into Sia Tolno’s performance. Sia Tolno champions equality for women. “They have a place in today’s Africa,” she says, and goes on to cite the example of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who has been governing Liberia since 2006. “Family, husbands, children and belief are important to us. You have to take that into account if you’re to effectively challenge the curse of female genital mutilation. So I say calmly: ‘Don’t cut a thing.’ Or I encourage women to do something about husbands who humiliate them, but show respect for their values.” Sia attacks machismo (Manu), the idiocy of warlords (Rebel Leader) and police corruption (African Police). She champions education for women, who are clearly so strong (Waka Waka Woman) and condemns female genital mutilation (Kekeleh). She also tells the tragic tale of Yaguine Koita and Fodé Tounkara, two teenagers who hoped for a better life in Europe but were found dead in the undercarriage of Sabena flight 520 in 1999. Idjo Weh is dedicated to young people “who are frustrated in Africa, trapped between parental authority and social constraints. You can’t control your life because there’s always someone better placed than you and that leads to violence, revolt and all kinds of trafficking.” Yes, this album is explosive. Programmation, Booking: Nicolas TCHIECKOH Tel: (+33)(0)656712430 ou millimounonicolas@yahoo.fr
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Genres:
World Music, Afro Beat, International

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About SIA TOLNO

Explosive: a woman takes up Afrobeat! The Yoruba, funk, jazz fusion of Afrobeat is rough, rowdy and political. It was introduced at the end of the 60s by the prince of the Nigerian resistance, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, as his country emerged from the brutal Biafran war. Fela was an “African King”, a fierce opponent of the corrupt military regime that finally sent troops to burn down the community founded by this “Black President”: the Kalakuta Republic. There, the soldiers threw his elderly mother from a window. Yet Guinea’s Sia Tolno is not afraid to take up Fela’s torch. Her third album, African Woman, challenges male supremacy in a forceful style derived from Ghanaian ‘high-life’. Africa’s history has sometimes been violent, but no more so than the belligerent West’s. Colonial Europe used rulers to trace improbable borders across the continent, dividing its peoples. Once such people was the Kissi, who were mainly Christian farmers living to the south of Guinea and straddling Sierra Leone and Liberia. Sia Tolno is a Kissi, her powerful voice backed by an unstoppable groove. Born in 1975 in Guéckédou, Guinea, she suffered from the major geopolitical upheavals in the region as it was torn apart by eleven years of civil war from 1991 à 2002, all because of the mines producing the “blood diamonds” the warlords craved. Sia Tolno had long planned to “take up Afrobeat, an angry music that can express what I want to say”. Sia is an English-speaker. She grew up in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone where her father taught French, and learned the pidgin English of Lagos that was Fela’s chosen dialect. She was treated harshly as a child, but her writing and poetry helped her to carry on. Then, just as she was wondering whether to study IT or drama, she found herself caught up in the war. She was twenty when the forces commanded by Liberia’s Charles Taylor plunged the region into bloody conflict. In desperation, she fled to Guinea, although she barely knew her family there and did not speak French. “I can see nothing good about war, nothing. War doesn’t bring truth, it opens doors that lead to dark places. It’s like a disease, it narrows minds. What can you do if you’re not sure you’ll still be alive at the end of the day? The war shattered my dreams and set me back,” explains the singer, who recently moved to France. So Sia Tolno decided to become an artist. She settled in Conakry and sang in its bars and night clubs. She describes this period of cigarettes, liquor and empty pockets in Malaya, a very soul number from her previous album, My Life. “In 1994, I started to sing at the Copains d’abord, a club opened by a Lebanese man called Mustapha, who helped me a lot. People saw night clubs as dens of iniquity at the time. Women weren’t in control.” Unlike the Mandingo with their singer caste, the Kissi had no griot troubadour tradition and Sia Tolno’s family could not “even imagine” her singing. Determined to become a star, she chose “great songs” by Westerners: Piaf, Whitney Houston, Nina Simone, Mariah Carey and Gloria Estefan. Sia had a powerful voice and a certain “black elegance” in her phrasing. In 2008, she represented her country in the first series of Africa Star (the Pan-African version of Making a Music Star), held in Gabon. Among the judges were the great musician and composer Pierre Akendengue and his new producer, José da Silva, who worked with Cesaria Evora. Akendengue was impressed: the young woman had a remarkable voice. When Sia Tolno released her first international album, Eh Sanga, in 2009 on the Lusafrica label, Guinea was again in the grip of civil unrest. The new head of state, Captain Dadis Camara, promised democratic elections, but his forces opened fire on the crowd gathered in Conakry stadium. Women were raped. Finally, in 2010, Alpha Condé was elected president. Yet, as Sia Tolno points out, Africa is eviscerated and despised, even by Africans. Now Sia Tolno was in search of a musical identity. On her two previous albums, Eh Sanga and My Life (2011 RFI prize), she had worked with Guineans - first, guitarist Kanté Manfila (a former member of Salif Keita’s Les Ambassadeurs) who died in 2011, and then Mamadou Camara, who had previously played guitar with the Kaloum Star band. Arranger François Bréant noticed Sia’s strong taste for Afrobeat on My Life. Today, she embraces it fully on African Woman, thanks to the complex contribution of Tony Allen, who was Fela’s drummer and artistic director from 1968 to 1979, until they found they were in serious political disagreement. Tony Allen has come up with an all-out groove backing for Sia. His Yoruba, funk and high-life percussion weaves a tapestry of multiple beats, injecting an explosion of energy into Sia Tolno’s performance. Sia Tolno champions equality for women. “They have a place in today’s Africa,” she says, and goes on to cite the example of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who has been governing Liberia since 2006. “Family, husbands, children and belief are important to us. You have to take that into account if you’re to effectively challenge the curse of female genital mutilation. So I say calmly: ‘Don’t cut a thing.’ Or I encourage women to do something about husbands who humiliate them, but show respect for their values.” Sia attacks machismo (Manu), the idiocy of warlords (Rebel Leader) and police corruption (African Police). She champions education for women, who are clearly so strong (Waka Waka Woman) and condemns female genital mutilation (Kekeleh). She also tells the tragic tale of Yaguine Koita and Fodé Tounkara, two teenagers who hoped for a better life in Europe but were found dead in the undercarriage of Sabena flight 520 in 1999. Idjo Weh is dedicated to young people “who are frustrated in Africa, trapped between parental authority and social constraints. You can’t control your life because there’s always someone better placed than you and that leads to violence, revolt and all kinds of trafficking.” Yes, this album is explosive. Programmation, Booking: Nicolas TCHIECKOH Tel: (+33)(0)656712430 ou millimounonicolas@yahoo.fr
Show More
Genres:
World Music, Afro Beat, International

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