Rokia Traoré

Rokia Traoré is a young singer full of talent. Born as a daughter of a Malian diplomat, she has lived all over the world, and studied sociology in Brussels. In 1990, her parents gave her a guitar as birthday gift, she learnt to play it herself, without any help of a music teacher. At the end of 1997, she was recording her first album in a French studio. By then, she had already received the « prix découverte RFI » and performed successfully on the « Musiques métisses » festival in Angoulême, France.

This first album, « Mouneïssa » sold 30,000 times, which is remarkable for an album so much rooted in traditional phrases. But don't be mistaken, she composes the songs herself, and her approach is full of innovation (for instance the unique combination of the bala ba from the Bélédougou region with the ngoni lute of the Bambara), the lyrics are on modern time issues. Her second album, « Wanita » turned out to be even better!

On following albums, Rokia continues to impress:

  " It really doesn't get better than this in today's African music. Rokia's work is exciting, surprising, and always perfectly executed " Rose Skelton, Songlines March 15, 2013 Edition [external link]

  " Rokia Traoré's heartfelt plea on behalf of Mali, her homeland, is also a simply brilliant piece of music " Michael Cragg, The Guardian [external link]

Rokia Traoré
  Rokia Traoré
Musicians on «Mouneïssa »:
Rokia Traoré (vocals);
Andra Kouyaté (ngoni);
Baba Sissoko (ngoni, small percussion);
Oumar Diallo (bass);
Abdoul Wahab Berthé (bass);
Samba Diarra (balafon);
Dimba Camara (percussion) and
Souleymane Ann (percussion)

Born: 1974, in Bamako, Mali
Style: traditional malinke and bambara songs / acoustic world music

Title Year Label Remarks
Né So 2016 Nonesuch 553578 France: Parlophone Music
Beautiful Africa 2013 Nonesuch Records
Tchamantché 2008 Universal Jazz France
Bowmboï 2003 Indigo LBLC 2594 European CD release
Bowboï 2003 Tama Productions/ Mali K7 SA (no reference) African release
Wanita 2000 Indigo LBLC 2574
Mouneïssa 1998 Indigo LBLC 2524

Page added April 2000