Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dimi Mint Abba, "The Diva of the Desert," Dies in Stage Accident

Dimi Mint Abba, arguably Mauritania's most famous musician, died on Saturday from injuries suffered during a stage accident in Aioun, Morocco.  She was 52 years old.

 Born Loula Bint Siddaty Ould Abba, Abba was born to low-caste parents who also played music in the griot tradition.  She began performing from a very young age, and after years, received her big break when she competed in the Umm Kulthum Contest in Tunis, a regional talent competition.  After a strong recommendation from legendary African bluesman, Abba was signed to the World Circuit record label, and recorded a string of hits, including "Koumba Bay Bay," "Hailala," and her signature song, "Sawt Elfan." Abba's death marks a severe embarrassment for the Mauritanian government, who failed to publicly show its sympathy for Abba and her family.

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