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Rokia Traoré Announces UK Tour, European Festival Dates; New Album, "Beautiful Africa," Earns Five Stars in Songlines

Rokia Traoré: Songlines cover, April 2013

Rokia Traoré, whose new album, Beautiful Africa, is due out on Nonesuch Records on April 9 (April 1 in France), has announced a series of new tour dates in the UK for May, starting with a performance at the Manchester Band on the Wall on May 20, followed by stops at the Norwich & Norfolk Festival, Cargo in London, and the Hay Festival. Traoré celebrates the release of the new album with a tour of France, Switzerland, and Luxembourg in April and will perform at a number of European summer festivals, including Roskilde and a return to the UK for sets at the Glastonbury Festival and WOMAD. See below for all of the currently scheduled dates; for additional details and available tickets links, visit

Produced by English musician John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels, Sparklehorse) and recorded at Toybox Studios in Bristol, UK, Rokia Traoré’s album Beautiful Africa features lyrics sung in the Malian–born Traoré’s native languages of French and Bambara, as well as some English. Nonesuch Store pre-orders include an instant download of the title track, which the Guardian calls "brilliant."

Rokia Traoré is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Songlines magazine (pictured at left and on newsstands today), which gives Beautiful Africa a perfect five stars and names it this month's Top of the World album. "It really doesn’t get better than this in today’s African music," raves reviewer Rose Skelton. "Rokia’s work is exciting, surprising, and always perfectly executed ... [T]his music belongs not just to Africa, but to the world. We should consider ourselves very, very lucky."

Beautiful Africa is also featured in the Los Angeles Times' Spring Arts preview, along with David Bowie and Justin Timberlake.

"Rokia Traoré has an exquisite voice and an even more lovely way around a phrased melody," writes Times pop music critic Randall Roberts. "On her delicately crafted Beautiful Africa, the French-singing chanteuse offers West African guitar pop, smooth but funky, not soft, suggestive of a more rhythmically dense Sade ... Beautiful Africa, produced by longtime PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, confirms the album title's truth."


There's more praise for Traoré and her new album from the Chicago Reader.

"Remarkable Malian singer and songwriter Rokia Traoré has demonstrated a consistent desire to expand the reach of her sound since she first emerged on the global circuit in 1998," writes the Reader's Peter Margasak. The new album "marks a major transformation and a huge step forward artistically." Margasak concludes: "I've only listened to the album once, but it sure feels like something I'll be coming back to all year."


To reserve a copy of Beautiful Africa, head to the Nonesuch Store and download the title track today.


Apr 10 EMB Sannois, FRANCE
Apr 12 La Ferme du Buisson Noisiel, FRANCE
Apr 13 Cully Jazz Festival Cully, FRANCE
Apr 16 Festival Chorus Colombes, FRANCE
Apr 17–19 Le Petit Bain Paris, FRANCE
Apr 20 Den Atelier Luxembourg, LUXEMBOURG
May 10 Druga Godba Festival Ljubljana, SLOVENIA
May 12 WOMAD Caceres, SPAIN
May 18 Afro-Pfingsten Festival  Winterthur, SWITZERLAND 
May 20 Band on the Wall Manchester, UK
May 21 Norwich & Norfolk Festival Norwich, UK
May 23 Cargo London, UK
May 24 Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye, UK
Jun 24&25 Arts Festival of North Norway Harstad, NORWAY
Jun 29 Glastonbury Festival  Glastonbury, UK 
Jul 3 Cognac Blues Passion Cognac, FRANCE
Jul 5 Roskilde Festival Roskilde, DENMARK
Jul 11 Festival les Suds Arles, FRANCE
Jul 21 Colours of Ostrava Festival Ostrava, CZECH REPUBLIC
Jul 25  Festival Sines  Sines, PORTUGAL
Jul 26 Nuits Atypiques Langon, FRANCE
Jul 27  WOMAD Malmesbury, UK              
Aug 3 Festival les Nuits Secrètes Aulnoye-Aymeries, FRANCE
Aug 4 Festival Espéranzah Floreffe, BELGIUM
Aug 8 Festival Sète Sète, FRANCE
Aug 11 Festival Au Grès du Jazz La Petite Pierre, FRANCE


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