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 nonesuch.com/on-tour.
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."
Read more at latimes.com.
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."
Read more at chicagoreader.com.
To reserve a copy of Beautiful Africa, head to the Nonesuch Store and download the title track today.
ROKIA TRAORE ON TOUR
||La Ferme du Buisson
||Cully Jazz Festival
||Le Petit Bain
||Druga Godba Festival
||Band on the Wall
||Norwich & Norfolk Festival
||Arts Festival of North Norway
||Cognac Blues Passion
||Festival les Suds
||Colours of Ostrava Festival
||Ostrava, CZECH REPUBLIC
||Festival les Nuits Secrètes
||Festival Au Grès du Jazz
||La Petite Pierre, FRANCE