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If you merged Miriam Makeba with Nina Simone, added a dose of Tracy Chapman and sprinkled on some Tina Turner, you might begin to explain Natu Camara.
Hailing from the heart of West Africa, Natu is a dynamic singer and songwriter whose music not only reflects her rich heritage but also electrifies stages with her mesmerizing performances. Her unwavering commitment to social justice adds an inspiring dimension to her artistry, making her a true luminary in the world of music.
Born in Ivory Coast, of Guinean origin, Natu began her musical journey by co-founding West Africa's first ever female R&B/hip-hop ensemble, the Ideal Black Girls. Their debut album, "Guinea mou monèra" ("It's not a shame to be a woman"), struck a chord with audiences, selling millions of copies and earning a nomination for best album in 2002 in Guinea, and also made them known on the international scene. Made popular on televisions and radios in the sub-region of Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast... and presented in the video documentary by RFI, Télésud TV and TV5 Afrique and the film “Il va rain in Conakry.
The Ideal Black Girls not only took the music scene by storm, but also lit a fire of inspiration in a generation of young girls, proving that women could excel in the music industry and any field of their choice thanks to initiatives like the revolutionary Rhapsodie festival. Festival and the timeless anthem “Didi”, a symbol of love frequently heard at weddings, with male colleagues. Their second album, recorded in Senegal, further consolidated Natu's place in the world of music, but it also marked a turning point in his career.
Natu's journey took a poignant turn when she moved to New York, her life intertwined with tragedy as she lost her husband to cancer. In the midst of grief and isolation in a foreign land, she found solace in the guitar her husband had gifted her. A serendipitous encounter with a peculiar bird at her window in 2013 served as a sign, prompting her to embark on a new chapter. Swiftly mastering English, she formed a band and began a profound musical transformation. Drawing inspiration from luminaries like Ali Farka Toure, Mory Kanté, Fela Kuti, Baaba Maal, Nina Simone, Paul Simon, Lukua Kenza, Richard Bona, and Tina Turner.
After recording two songs with Salif Keita's band in New York, Natu packed her guitar and headed to Mali to finish her album with famous guitarist Djessou Mory Kanté who introduced her to world-class musicians, alongside sound engineer Abou Cissé, they created the sound she aspired to share with the world. The result was her acclaimed album, "Dimedi" ("Child"), which received praise in his native country and opened the doors to America for him.
Natu's music transcends borders, touching hearts globally, addressing issues like forced child marriage and disunity in Guinea while shedding light on loneliness and sadness in the developed world.
Dedicated to her homeland and mentoring young women, Natu splits her time between Guinea and New York. Her pre-pandemic North American tour was a hit, reaching cities like San Francisco, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Montreal, Quebec, Washington DC, Port du Prince, and New York.
Natu's exceptional talent earned her an award from NYFA, selected among 1,300 applicants by the NYC Women's Fund for Media, Music, and Theatre. Despite the pandemic challenges, she performed at virtual festivals like the Madison World Music Festival, The International Festival de Louisiane, Global Arts Live, and a live show for Voice of America in Washington, Duke University, and more.
In 2021, Natu shone at globalFEST and featured on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series. In 2022, she stormed New York with electrifying performances at Summerstage, Celebrate Brooklyn, City Winery, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and many other outdoor festivals.
Inspired by her band's impact during summer outdoor festivals, Natu founded the Harlem Meet Africa Festival in 2022, fostering cultural connections within the Harlem community. In Guinea, she established the Dimedi Foundation for girls' mentorship and children's education.
Today, Natu Camara is a global musical icon, humanitarian, and visionary entrepreneur. Beyond her artistry, she's the founder of Dimedi Foundation, CEO of Natuwenta Productions, and the force behind the Harlem Meet Africa Festival. She's not just an artist but an entrepreneur and educator. Natu, a NYFA awardee, continues her journey while working on her second solo album in New York City, overseeing her ventures with unwavering dedication.
Natu Camara's journey isn't just music, it's a testament to the transformative power of music and the indomitable spirit of an artist advocating change. She's a beacon of talent, resilience, and hope in music and beyond.
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