Don't Miss Rokia Traoré At Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, November 15

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Rokia Traoré performs on November 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm.

Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Columbus Avenue at 60th Street

White Light Lounge: Audience members are invited to mingle and enjoy a glass of wine immediately following the performance.

Malian singer-songwriter, Rokia Traoré, “Africa’s most interesting and genuinely experimental contemporary musician” (Daily Telegraph-London), who performed in the White Light Festival in 2011 in “Desdemona”, a collaboration by Peter Sellars and Toni Morrison, returns with songs from her latest, critically-acclaimed, and most rock-influenced album to date, Beautiful Africa.

Beautiful Africa, received perfect five-star reviews from The Guardian, Observer, Daily Telegraph, and Financial Times upon its UK release in April.  Pitchfork wrote, “Traoré’s past albums established her as a fine singer, but here, she feels more accomplished than ever, her voice bending around her words…with flourishes of subtle vibrato.”  The songs, sung in Bambara, French, and English, are Traoré’s attempt to wrestle with the recent political and social strife in her homeland. The Chicago-Reader said the album “marks a major transformation and a huge step forward artistically” for the singer/songwriter whose career has carved a distinctive path joining traditional African sounds with the jazz, blues, rock and French chanson she grew up with.

The album’s release follows a very productive year for the singer who wrote and performed three new programs produced by the Barbican Centre: the acoustic Damou (Dream), bluesy Donguili (Sing) and rock-influenced Donke (Dance) to show, she says, “three different aspects of Malian culture and my own personality.” All three were performed at different London venues in one week last summer and at this year’s Sydney Festival, Australia. She also toured and collaborated with Damon Albarn, Paul McCartney and John Paul Jones as part of the Africa Express train project, and appeared in British and European presentations of Desdemona.

The daughter of a Malian diplomat, Traoré studied in Brussels. In 1997, she won the Radio France International prize for African Discovery of the Year before releasing her 1998 debut album Mouineïssa to overwhelming praise. Traoré’s 2003 recording Bowmboï was her breakthrough release.  Time Out London said that her live shows are “arguably the most exciting, most thrilling live African music show around.”  Known for her outspoken lyrics, Traoré covers a variety of topics, including poverty and social justice on her recording, Tchamantché, which was awarded France’s prestigious Victoires de la Musique for World Music Album in 2009.

Peter Sellars commissioned Traoré to create a work for Vienna’s New Crowned Hope Festival in 2006 celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth.  The result was a triumphant, “quasi-opera,” Wati, about the final year of Mozart’s life.  In Wati, Traoré re-imagines a dying Mozart as a griot in ancient West Africa, heir to a long line of hereditary musicians.

A pre-concert lecture by Banning Eyre will take place at 6:15 pm in the Irene Diamond Education Center, Frederick P. Rose Hall.



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