Nonesuch Records to Release New Album from Singer/Songwriter Rokia Traoré in Early 2013
Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Rokia Traoré has a new album coming in the spring of 2013 on Nonesuch Records; it is the first time Nonesuch will release her record worldwide. Further details about the album and its release will be announced shortly, as will upcoming festival and tour dates.
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. Currently living in Paris, she returns to her native Mali frequently. Her music draws upon that country’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 last 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 John Parish (PJ Harvey) on guitar. And for Dream, which took place in an East End theater, Traoré narrated an ancient Malian tale, with occasional musical interludes. Traoré performs the three shows as part of the Sydney Festival in Australia in January 2013. (See more at nonesuch.com/on-tour.) She was awarded the inaugural Roskilde Festival World Music Award in 2009 for her work with Foundation Passerelle.
This fall, 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.