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Beautiful Africa

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iTunes Review

On her fifth album, Beautiful Africa, Malian singer/songwriter and guitarist Rokia Traoré deftly combines the traditional music of her homeland with rock and other genres. The album is produced by John Parish, best known for his work with take-no-prisoners British vocalist P.J. Harvey. The various elements—driving riffs and delicate picking, gentle pop-flavored singing and Islamic vocalizations, psych-like vibes and desert-blues chugs, lyrics in various languages—play off one another nicely. The n’goni (a West African string instrument)—expertly played by Mamah Diabaté—has a starring role; female backup vocals are another key element. One of the most exciting tunes is “Kouma,” where drummer Sebastian Rochford lets loose and electric guitar gets down and dirty. “Sarama” has the soothing quality of mellow folk-rock colored by n’goni runs and quiet percussion. On the lengthy “N’Téri,” Traoré intensely intones line after line over low-key acoustic bass, n’goni, guitar, and drums. Then in the last section, the band picks up the tempo as Traoré and the backup singers engage in call and response before coming together in delightful harmony.

Customer Reviews

Love Rokia!

Another Rokia classic, with a different twist of Rock and Folk, Rokia presents another master piece. Couldn't wait for it to be available in the States, so I ordered it from the UK. Love Rokia.

Mayne Stage

Looking forward to seeing you in Chicago! I cannot stop listening! Listening to NPR today I heard the most beautiful sound and it was Rokia! Apparently I have been missing out but no more! My wife and I have marked our calendars! See you very soon!

Come to Houston!

A wonderfully crafted album!


Born: January 26, 1974 in Beledougou, Mali

Genre: World

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Rokia Traore's family was both a blessing and a curse for her musical career. Her father was a diplomat and she spent her childhood traveling several continents -- Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, and France. There she was exposed to a variety of styles of music, from classical, jazz, and pop to Indian traditional composition. However, her family was also part of Mali's nobility, which has traditional caste prohibitions against its members making music. For her countryman Salif Keita, who was a member...
Full Bio

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