Little known outside of Niger, Fati Mariko is one of the country's most beloved singers. She was born Fatimata Gandigui Mariko on September 25, 1964. She grew up in Niamey and Bougouni, Mali. She launched her career in 1986 with the group Marhaba. (Fati's future husband Boureima Mamadou was also a member of the group.) Over the next four years Fati became the most popular singer in Niger, winning several national awards. In late 1990, Fati left Marhaba and joined the orchestre of the Centre de Formation et de Promotion Musicale Taya (CFPM Taya), Niger's premier music and arts institute. The CFPM Taya orchestre disbanded in 1996.
In 1998, Fati resuscitated the group Marhaba and they released 'Issa Haro', their first cassette, in 2001. This release was followed by 'Bebe' in 2003 and 'Inch Allah' in 2008. The 'Inch Allah' release spawned two sequels, with 'Inch Allah Vol. 3' released in 2013; the full album is the only Fati Mariko available on Itunes. Unfortunately, 'Inch Allah Vol. 3' is a somewhat tepid attempt at crossover success aimed at the French market, featuring a duo with a Francis Cabrel imitator and some floppy reggae tunes in French.
I think these Fati Mariko recordings are some of her very first with the group Marhaba, made back in the late 1980s. I don't know where these tracks were recorded or if they were commercially released but if I had to guess i would say they were recorded at the national radio. This is one of a number of cassettes I picked up in Niamey in 2005 from the great Djadje Kortey.
Fati Mariko - Early Recordings
This is the classic Songhay sound, familiar to fans of the late great Ali Farka Toure (the guitar playing isn't as masteful but the groove is terrific). The first track is Fati's first hit, 'Djennah Djennah'. If you know anything more about these recordings, the remaining song titles, please give a shout.
Thanks to the unknown photographer who posted the picture of Fati Mariko.