NOT many bands form with the intention of changing the world.

But this, in effect, is the mission statement of Les Amazones d’Afrique, the all-female supergroup made up of celebrated African musicians.

The band started life in 2014 as a three-piece – Oumou Sangaré, Mamani Keïta and Mariam Doumbia – based in the capital of Mali, Bamako.

The project has since spanned out to incorporate 12 singers including some of Mali’s most highly-rated singers such as Mamani Keita and Rokia Kone.

It’s all driven by de facto manager Valerie Malot, who has grand plans for what the group can achieve.

“We have the idea of using lyrics and songs to pass a message onto the population and change mentalities,” she says. “We were talking about the role of women in society and how we can use women as role models to make change.”

Part of Les Amazones d’Afrique’s motivation is to show other African women that they can fulfil their ambitions despite the social restrictions in their home countries. There are many obstacles that stand in the way, of course, but the supergroup have shown it can be done.

“There is a big difficulty in being a female musician in Africa,” says Valerie. “You don’t have female musicians, and, if you do, they have a very hard life.

“You have to fight against tradition to be what you want to be.”

Some of the back stories of the band’s members testify to the hardships – not just in some African societies but life generally – that must be overcome in order to achieve your goals.

Mamani Keita, for instance, was orphaned after her parents died when she was very young. “To be an orphan in Africa...” Valerie puffs out her cheeks to emphasise how undesirable that situation is.

“She has raised herself up to where she is now – she is someone who fights.”

Kandia Kouyate, meanwhile, suffered a stroke while praying in 2004, losing the capacity to talk for almost 10 years. Incredibly, she began to record music again in 2015.

“It was a miracle,” Valerie. “All these women are examples of resistance. This project comes as an example to other women in Africa – you can change your destiny.”

Les Amazones d’Afrique’s first single, 2015’s I Play The Kora, is a fitting way of summing up the group’s ethos in general. The kora is a string instrument typically played by men. Historically, women have been banned from using it.

“The idea of women playing the kora is a metaphor for saying I don’t care about tradition,” says Valerie. Intriguingly, she adds that the song was written as a “love letter to men”. Are the group extending the hand to men to join them in their quest for gender equality?

“Absolutely,” says Valerie “We need to explain to them that if a girl goes to school, she will learn things. It can be a beautiful story if everyone is equal.

“Women should be partners, not slaves.

“This situation happens everywhere, not just in Africa.”

That last point is important – Valerie insists that the group’s message is relevant to women (and men) everywhere, and that we all “need to be involved in this push, because otherwise we will go backwards”.

As well as controlling the day-to-day affairs of Les Amazones d’Afrique, Valerie has been drawing the blueprints for a festival in Dakar featuring only female musicians. She hopes a version of the event will also be held in London next year. The future seems bright.

“The idea is to have a time when women can be at the centre of things,” she says.

“Amazones d’Afrique want to be leaders in that.”

Edwin Gilson

Les Amazones d’Afrique

Brighton Dome, Thursday,

May 24, 7.30pm,

For more information on Les Amazones d’Afrique visit