Daby Touré has just released a video for “Oma,” a standout track from his new album Amonafi (Afropop’s review here). The song is a playful bit of ska, with a catchy chorus that seemingly belies the gravity of its subject matter: the condition of migrants in France. In light of what’s happening in Europe—hundreds of thousands of people seeking refuge from violence and terror, only to be greeted with riots, racism, and very occasional charity—the topic seems evermore relevant.
Although the scale of what’s unfolding in Europe isn’t represented in the video for “Oma”: instead it’s a story about the human connection between individuals, which would seem to lend itself more easily to empathy. The video opens with Touré cruising through what looks like Paris, his adopted hometown since 1989. He stops in an open-air market, he busks on the street, and then meets up with an apparently homeless woman and her young companion, and stops.
Maybe it’s an old trope: the musician starring in the video as a Christ-like figure willing to mingle with the poor, but the song and video come from Touré’s personal experience. “The song was inspired by a Roumanian woman who begs near my home in Paris,” Touré said in a press release. “One day she told me her story, and I sympathized with all her suffering, her humanity. ‘Oma’ is the cry of this woman.”
Given the state of Europe today, Touré’s message is far from cliché, and too rarely seen.