Aminata

Aminata Savadogo (she often goes by just Aminata) is a Latvian contemporary singer. Her music is influenced by her multiethnic roots—Russia, Latvia, and Burkina Faso—and displays a sound refreshing and unusual in today’s Latvia. She sings mostly in English, sometimes in Russian, and rarely in Latvian. According to her official biography, “her strong and unique voice … is a blend of three different singing traditions—African, Russian and Latvian.”

Savadogo was born in Riga, and has said that she feels herself to be mostly Latvian. Her native language is Russian, though she went to Latvian-language schools. She then graduated from a music institute, where she studied the flute. But even before her graduation she was already getting started in the world of singing: when she was only 15 she participated in the Latvian music program The Tavern at Paul’s (Krodziņā pie Paula).

A few years later she participated in a Latvian equivalent of the Russian music competition show Star Factory (Jaunā talantu fabrika). That was in 2013, and the following year she achieved even bigger fame as a result of her participation in Dziesma 2014, the music competition show that selects Latvia’s Eurovision act. She didn’t win that year, but she tried again the following year, and did make it to Eurovision. In 2016 she competed on Russia’s The Voice (Голос), which she marked as the first time she really sang in Russian.

Savadogo has released two albums to date, Inner Voice (2015; title in English) and Red Moon (2016; title in English). She’s also written songs for both the 2016 and 2017 Eurovision entrants from Latvia.

 

“Es atnācu uguntiņu,” one of the few instances of Savadogo’s singing in Latvian (the song is a cover):

 

Lyrics for”Es atnācu uguntiņu”:

Dzīvoš’ ilgi, ne tik ilgi,
Saules mūžu nedzīvošu
Ūdentiņis, akmentiņis
tie dzīvos saules mūžu.

Tēvu tēvi laipas meta,
Bērnu bērni laipotāji.
Tā, bērniņi, laipojat,
Ka pietika mūžiņam.

Nesmejat, jūs, ļautiņi,
Ne smieklam es atnācu.
Es atnācu uguntiņu
Ar basām kājiņām.

Ne nabaga bērniņš biju,
Ne caur roku klausījos.
Pate klaipu griezējiņa,
Citam rikas devējiņa.

 

“I’ll Never Forgive You” (“Я тебя не прощу никогда”):

 

Lyrics for “Я тебя не прощу никогда”:

Остановятся безлюдные улицы,
Как картинки из недавнего прошлого,
Всё случается, а это не сбудется,
То, что утекло, не воротится больше.

Я пыталась уберечь до последнего
Свою звёздочку за маленьким облаком,
Оказалось, там давно уж и нет её,
Длится эта ночь года целого дольше.

Ты же меня простил, сказал “Забудь”,
Ты же меня впустил в свою судьбу,
Ты же меня простил, упасть не дал,
А я тебя не прощу никогда.

Не ищи меня, пропавшую без вести,
Разминулись мы с тобой не единожды,
По дороге от измены до верности
Так и не дойдя даже до середины.

Ты же меня простил, сказал “Забудь”,
Ты же меня впустил в свою судьбу,
Ты же меня простил, упасть не дал,
А я тебя не прощу никогда.

Ты же меня простил, сказал “Забудь”,
Ты же меня впустил в свою судьбу,
Ты же меня простил, упасть не дал,
А я тебя не прощу никогда.
Я тебя не прощу никогда.

 

“Love Injected,” Aminata’s most popular English-language song:

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.