Monday, March 23, 2009
Amadou & Mariam's latest album, Welcome to Mali, is set for US release on Nonesuch tomorrow. The duo is the subject of a number of feature-length articles about changing perceptions in the West of African musics beyond "world music." The New York Times places them "among the world’s most renowned African musical acts" and says the new album is "less an abandonment of the group’s culture than an updating of it." The Los Angeles Times cites the success of Amadou & Mariam, who "helped define the current African shift," and of Youssou N'Dour, Oumou Sangare, and Rokia Traoré, as examples that "the American cliché of African music is falling apart—or, really, exploding." Detroit Free-Press gives Welcome to Mali four stars, calling it "a spirited invitation to dance away those recession-induced blues and welcome spring ... This is a feel-good album. Don't miss it."
Friday, March 20, 2009
Rokia Traoré, Toumani Diabaté, and Amadou & Mariam have all been nominated for the inaugural Songlines Music Awards, recognizing outstanding talent in world music. Diabaté and Traoré are each nominated for Best Artist, Amadou & Mariam for Best Group. Winners will be chosen by the Songlines editorial team and announced in May. The WOMAD festival, the Awards' co-presenter, will host a live event with a selection of the nominees at WOMAD Charlton Park in July, where Traoré and label mate Oumou Sangare are scheduled to perform.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
On Tchamantché, Rokia Traoré's recently released album, the Malian-born singer-songwriter "strikes out in a new direction while staying true to her African roots," says Dusted magazine. "The results are strikingly creative," producing "Traoré’s best work so far, and absolutely not to be missed." She performed last night at Sydney's Enmore Theatre in what Australian Stage describes as "two solid hours of groundbreaking, extra-African music ... by turns, startling, beguiling, seductive, spellbinding, exquisite, refined, rocking, intimate, infectious, affecting and 'funktional.' But, most of all, exciting, stirring the blood, vigourously."
Monday, March 9, 2009
The Australian: Rokia Traoré Rocks WOMAD; Her "Tchamantché" "Is the Epitome of Intelligent, Minimalist Music"
Rokia Traoré was the closing act at this year's WOMADelaide, the Adelaide, Australia, leg of the global World of Music and Dance festival, last night. The Australian says that with her "distinctive, soulful voice" in full effect, "Traoré rocked the park. Traoré has successfully forged her Malian roots with western blues, funk and jazz elements and at times the energy was electrifying ..." The paper's review of her new album, Tchamantché, calls it "the epitome of intelligent, minimalist music, with sparse accompaniment, thoughtful arrangements and subtle percussion."
Friday, March 6, 2009
Rokia Traoré is the subject of a feature interview on Pitchfork today, in which the Malian singer-songwriter now living in France discusses her career and describes the inspiration and influences behind her latest Nonesuch release, Tchamantché. "Over 10 years and four incredibly well-received albums," says Pitchfork, "Rokia Traoré has become one of world music's great synthesizers, combining the rhythms and traditions of diverse cultures from Africa and Europe into a complex sound that only she could create."
Monday, March 2, 2009
Félicitations à Rokia Traoré. Tchamantché, her latest Tama/Nonesuch release, received the Victoires de la Musique, the French equivalent of the Grammy Award, for Best World Album. The ceremony was held this past Saturday night at the Zenith in Paris and was broadcast live on French national television.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Rokia Traoré's recent Nonesuch release, Tchamantché, receives an 8.4 from Pitchfork, asserting that her "sense of independence has imbued her music with a special quality that sets it apart from that of many of her erstwhile peers." The review cites the album's "gorgeous guitar tones and Traoré's quiet vocals. These twin strands of transnational DNA—guitar plus vocals—wend through all music, but here they're made more entrancing by Traoré's refusal to abandon her roots while at the same time working subtly but assiduously to build upon them."
Monday, February 23, 2009
Rokia Traoré is the subject of a feature article in the Financial Times that examines the life and career of "Mali’s most ambitious, experimental singer," in particular her place in a culture in which musical roles are often strictly defined by tradition and deep-rooted tastes. The article closes at a soundcheck in a London club in which Rokia and her band are getting ready to play, and even with the day's distractions, "when Traoré sings quietly, more to herself than to anyone else, the room is hers and hers alone."
Friday, February 13, 2009
Rokia Traoré's two-week tour of the US comes to a close this weekend with a performance at the Somerville Theatre outside Boston tonight and a return to New York Saturday for show at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts. Rokia is the subject of a feature article in the Boston Globe, which examines her unique blend of traditional and modern sounds and instruments, contending that she has "found a potent muse in the sound of an old electric guitar," the Gretsch, featured prominently on her new album, Tchamantché.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Rokia Traoré returns to New York City for a performance of songs from her latest release, Tchamantché, at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village. The Chicago Tribune calls this week's performance at Chicago's Old Town School of Music "riveting," one that showed the many facets of the "fascinatingly complex singer ... who embraces but also stretches centuries-old traditions." Throughout, "the incredible Traoré was in command of stage, song and crowd alike."