- November 22, 2013
- 8:00 pm
275 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Read a review and listen to Rokia's music>>
"I am singing about all my relatives and friends living in the countryside in Mali and in Africa," Traoré says of the album's closing track, "Sarama." "These women are simply amazing, because when I feel tired I imagine them in their life of every day. They never show that they are tired. They are like iron women: all the time working, but working and smiling and taking care of everything with nothing to support them.
To read more and to hear Rokia on All Things Considered click here
It all started with a sound inside Rokia Traoré's head. One of the most adventurous singer-songwriters in Africa knew that she wanted to create a musical style "more modern, but still African, something more blues and rock than my folk guitar." Then she heard an old Gretsch, the classic electric guitar beloved by American rockabilly bands back in the fifties and sixties, and played by artists from Chet Atkins to George Harrison. That was the sound she had been looking for, and it has helped bring a fresh and startling new dimension to her exquisite and adventurous songs.
The daughter of a Malian diplomat posted to the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, Traoré studied in Brussels and worked in a rap band, before deciding to go back to Mali to create the music she wanted, which was "not pop, not jazz, not classical, but something contemporary with traditional instruments."
She survived by washing dishes, cooking in a restaurant, and working as a housekeeper, as she found musicians for her new songs backed by her own acoustic guitar, the West African n'goni, and the balafon. She became a success back in Europe, where she was hailed as the "African Discovery of 1997" after performing at the Angoulême Festival in France. Recording contracts and international tours followed, as Rokia continued to develop her musical ideas and delight audiences around the world. Since then...