Posts Tagged ‘mali’
Words by Kevin Bourke
With a Songlines cover and an ecstatically reviewed new album, Rokia Traoré is riding high. On the evidence of this exhilarating live show, her current UK tour, which is destined to reach many thousands at this year’s Glastonbury (June 26-30), only confirms her position as one of the world’s most consistently exciting singers and performers.
The revered Manchester venue Band on the Wall, is at its best when the music gets sweaty and intimate. Fortuitously, those are two adjectives that spring readily to mind about this particular show – as well as humble, sweet, sassy and, whisper who dare, rocking.
That last may not come as much of a surprise to fans of the John Parish-produced Beautiful Africa, who came fully prepared to groove and move to some sinuous riffing from the perma-grinning female bass-player and a white guitarist apparently as enamoured with Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour as the desert blues. Drummer Seb Rochford was imperturbable as Rokia’s vocals swooped, soared and glided through some of the many moods of Beautiful Africa, from the impassioned title-track to the slinky soukous-style ‘Tuit Tuit’ and the riff-tastic ‘Kouma’. Ngoni player Mamah Diabaté infused the proceedings with an agile musical wit and backing singers Fatim Kouyaté and Bintou Soumbounou, albeit a bit underused on this night for my tastes, provided an invaluable foil for Rokia’s mercurial voice.
The great Malian singer has always been something of a shape-shifter, and this current manifestation is one of her most intriguing.
Words by Rose Skelton
We have come to expect a lot from young Malian pop-rock singer Rokia Traoré, who surprised the world with her deeply traditional 2003 album Bowmboï, and then knocked us for six with her 2009 release Tchamantché, a rocky, rootsy interplay of Malian tradition and modernity. Beautiful Africa is as rich and exciting as anything she has made before, and benefits from a noticeable maturity. The dreamy guitar riffs of her last album are still there, with the lead melodies often spelled out by ngoni as they were in her previous albums, but Rokia’s voice seems more sure of itself as it soars from one style to another.
This shift in gear was perhaps helped by the fact she has been branching out into acting, appearing last year in the stage production Desdemona, the re-imagined story of the Shakespearean character directed by Peter Sellars. Each track on Beautiful Africa is a world in itself, changing pace rapidly, leading the listener through varying tones and rhythms, but always held together by Rokia’s voice, which knows when to stand back and when to take control. ‘Sikey’ is notable for the vocal interplay, with Rokia’s narration of a story punctuated by the interjections of her two backing singers. The nine-minute long ‘N’Téri’ is a stage-show in itself, the ngoni plucking a continuous line as Rokia whispers and trills a tale. ‘Ka Moun Kè’ rolls along, with a sparse, reverberating guitar line supporting a chorus of voices, a staccato ngoni and, of course, Rokia’s voice – impassioned, expressive and gentle.
It really doesn’t get much better than this in today’s African music. Rokia’s work – both recorded and live – is exciting, surprising and always perfectly executed. Many of her songs slip into French and English and, though this sometimes can be awkward, it gives an overarching feeling that this music belongs not just to Africa, but to the world. We should consider ourselves very, very lucky.
TRACK TO TRY: Lalla
(on Nonesuch Records)
We at Songlines are counting down the days until Glastonbury between June 26-30. And our anticipation has gone through the roof with the line-up announcement last night. Aside from our obvious excitement re: The Rolling Stones, we are also thrilled to see the line-up for the West Holts Stage, where the Songlines crew will be stationed for the entire festival. Look out for the big Songlines banner and be sure to pop by and say hello.
West Holts Stage line-up so far:
Chic ft. Nile Rogers
Dub Colossus (Songlines Music Awards 2013 Nominees!)
Tom Tom Club
Lianne la Havas
Tara V Mai
The Orb & Indigenous People
The Child of Lau
The Bombay Royale
Matthew E. White
Other Songlines favourites not to miss at Glasto:
Rokia Traoré (Pyramid Stage), Billy Bragg (Pyramid Stage), Seth Lakeman (Acoustic Tent), Oysterband (Avalon Stage), Rodriguez (Park Stage), Terakaft (Spirit of ‘71), Demon Barbers (Theatre & Circus), The Staves (Avalon Stage), Penguin Café (Avalon Stage), The Congos (Silver Waves), Urban Voodoo Machine (Avalon), Sinead O’Connor (Acoustic Tent)
For the full line-up click here
Acclaimed Malian singer joins Boddhi Satva to record ‘Ngnari Konon’ in Bamako
‘Ngnari Konon’ is the new single from Boddhi Satva’s debut album Invocation, featuring Grammy award winning singer Oumou Sangaré and produced by Louie Vega.
Originally from the Central African Republic, Boddhi Satva began recording Invocation in Bamako in September 2012, at a time when rebel forces had already occupied much of Mali’s Northern territory. On Mali and its rich musical heritage, Boddhi remarked:
‘Mali remains an amazing country and we shall not allow fear to dictate the way look at it. In the 13th century or today, it remains unique. I feel blessed to have been receiving so much from the Malian people. Mali lives!’
Watch the new video for ‘Ngnari Konon’ below