Rokia Traoré

North America

Defying the conventions of world music, Malian singer/songwriter Rokia Traoré dismisses the notion of genre, effortlessly blending the sounds of Mali with blues, rock, jazz, and folk. One of the most inventive artists in Africa today, Rokia is remarkable not just for the range of her powerful and emotional voice but also for her stunning live performances that range from up-tempo guitar-led pop to haunting and melancholy ballads. On her 2016 release, Né So, Rokia turns to friends John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), and Devendra Banhart to help her express her deep sadness at the state of turmoil in her native Mali. Lamenting her homeland’s loss of life, culture, and traditions, Rokia will draw audiences in with a striking translation from emotion to song, including transcriptions of some of Toni Morrison’s prolific writings.