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Rokia Traore

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  • Devendra Banhart, Rokia Traoré to Kick Off Barbican Celebration of Nonesuch Records in May

    Devendra Banhart and Rokia Traoré kick off Explorations: The Sound of Nonesuch Records, the Barbican's month-long celebration of Nonesuch Records' 50th anniversary, sharing an "unplugged" evening featuring recent and past material, at the Barbican Hall in London on Friday, May 2, 2014. Tickets are on sale now. Explorations: The Sound of Nonesuch Records includes a marathon weekend of concerts, May 17-18, and additional satellite events throughout the month of May.

  • Watch: Rokia Traoré Performs on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic"

    Rokia Traoré, as part of her US tour last fall to mark the release of her new album, Beautiful Africa, stopped by the studios of KCRW in Santa Monica to perform on Morning Becomes Eclectic and talk with the show's guest host, Chris Douridas, about the new album and tour. KCRW has posted video of the complete interview and performance, featuring songs from the new album, which you can watch here. NPR calls her "one of Mali's most revered voices."

About Rokia Traore

Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Rokia Traoré’s Beautiful Africa will be released on April 9, 2013, by Nonesuch Records (worldwide for the first time). The record was produced by English musician John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels, Sparklehorse) and recorded at Toybox Studios in Bristol, UK. Its lyrics are sung in the Malian–born Traoré’s native languages of French and Bambara, as well as some English. 

Pitchfork described Traoré’s most recent record, 2009’s Tchamantché, as “a guitar album of a particularly understated bent...hauntingly spare yet ridiculously well-defined, the timbre and tone of every string presented in perfect resolution.” And the BBC World Service called it “One of the best albums of the year. An absolute stunner.” Tchamantché also won a Victoires de la Musique (the equivalent of a Grammy Award in France) and a Songlines Artist of the Year Award for Traoré.

The daughter of a Malian diplomat who was posted to the US, Europe, and the Middle East, Traoré studied sociology in Brussels before embarking on her musical career. Although based in Bamako, Traoré has, for her son’s safety, temporarily relocated to Paris due to the current conflict in Mali. Her music draws upon her homeland’s traditions as well as the European and American rock and pop she has listened to throughout her life.

Traoré has explored a breadth of directions in her career. She recently collaborated with Nobel Prize–winning novelist Toni Morrison and MacArthur “Genius” Grant winning director Peter Sellars on the theater piece Desdemona. The piece premiered in Vienna in the summer of 2011 and received its New York premiere at Lincoln Center that fall; its UK premiere was at the Barbican in London in the summer of 2012. The Guardian called it “a remarkable, challenging and bravely original new work.”

The Barbican also produced a three-night series of shows by Traoré that summer, entitled Donguili – Donke – Damou (Sing – Dance – Dream). For the Sing evening, held at the Barbican, Traoré and mandolinist/former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones joined young musicians from Traoré’s training program in Mali, Foundation Passerelle. Dance, at the Village Underground rock club, featured Traoré and her band playing the high-energy, danceable shows she is well known for—joined by Parish on guitar. And for Dream, which took place in an East End theater, Traoré narrated an ancient Malian tale, with occasional musical interludes. Australia’s Sydney Festival also presented Donguili – Donke – Damou in January 2013. Traoré was awarded the inaugural Roskilde Festival World Music Award in 2009 for her work with Foundation Passerelle.

In the autumn of 2012, Traoré joined Damon Albarn’s UK train tour Africa Express, performing scheduled concerts in Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff, Bristol, and London as well as pop-up performances at railway stations, schools, factories, offices, shopping centers, and private homes. Other musicians on the tour included John Paul Jones, Amadou Bagayoko, Baaba Maal, and Paul McCartney.

Latest Release

  • Beautiful Africa

    Beautiful Africa

    Produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels, Sparklehorse), Rokia Traoré’s Beautiful Africa earns five stars from the Observer, Guardian, and Songlines, which raves: "It really doesn’t get better than this in today’s African music ... Rokia’s work is exciting, surprising, and always perfectly executed." The New York Times says: "Traoré has a gentle voice with a steely core, one that’s revealed more clearly than ever on Beautiful Africa." NPR says the album "is just as smart and lovely as its creator."

On Tour

  • May 1, 2014Place Rouppe, Brussels,
  • May 2, 2014 – 08:00 pmBarbican Hall, London,
  • May 3, 2014, Rome,
  • June 10, 2014International Platonov Arts Festival, Voronezh,
More Tour Dates

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