With her new single Village Sex, Wiyaala celebrates female sexuality and challenges conservative attitudes in her native Ghana.
In her homeland Ghana, Wiyaala is a figure of both fascination and consternation. She’s prompted praise and outrage thanks to her music (a sexy, potent fusion of West African folk and stadium pop) and her views (she’s called out misogyny, child marriage and FGM).
And with her new album Sissala Goddess her role as provocateur looks set to continue.
Sung partly in her home village Funsi’s dialect of Sissala, one of the world’s most endangered languages, it celebrates the stoicism and love of her people but pushes back on the historically male-dominated nature of Ghanaian society.
It’s a vibrant and energetic offering from the woman whose name means “the doer” in Sissala.
Who is Wiyaala?
Raised in north west Ghana close to the borders of Burkina Faso and Cote D’Ivoire, Wiyaala grew up singing in church.
She says her success is largely down to her musical mother, who protected her from FGM and child marriage, and encouraged her to be an entertainer, dancer, artist and athlete.
In recent years her international profile has grown significantly (Wiyaala jokes that she’s more popular overseas than she is at home, where some people don’t like her querying the status quo). She’s performed at Womad and the 2018 Commonwealth Games and will be in the UK next week to speak about music and film at Cambridge University’s Africa Togetherness Conference.
In the meantime, you can check out her new single Village Sex.