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Watch: Rokia Traoré Discusses "Beautiful Africa" with PBS NewsHour

Rokia Traoré 2013 by Mathieu Zazzo w

Rokia Traoré, whose new album, Beautiful Africa, landed on a number of Best of the Year lists for 2013, including Songlines, Uncut, Mojo, iTunes, NPR, the CBC, and the Chicago Tribune, recently spoke with PBS NewsHour's Jeffrey Brown about the album. Beautiful Africa, which NPR has said "is just as smart and lovely as its creator," was produced by English musician John Parish and includes lyrics sung in the Malian singer's native languages of French and Bambara, as well as some English.

"Born in the West African nation of Mali, daughter of a diplomat posted around the world, Rokia Traoré and her music are a mix of African and Western influences and languages," says Brown in the NewsHour piece. "Traoré's new album addresses the problems of Mali and the continent, but also, as its title, Beautiful Africa, suggests, much more."

"I would describe my music as Malian contemporary music, a mix of a profound Malian culture in which my music and, yes, my personality is rooted, and also opened to all my influences I had during my travels when I was a child," says Traoré. "Some things people see more through media, which give them a very negative image of Africa, are things we live there every day, but also there are some other things which are more positive and, just a normal life and joyful things and just glad to be an African and living there."

Watch the complete PBS NewsHour piece here:

To pick up a copy of Beautiful Africa, head to the Nonesuch Store, where CD orders include a download of the complete album at checkout; the album is also available to purchase there as MP3s and FLAC files.

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