Jul 30, 2013

RhoDeo 1330 Roots

Hello, we still find ourselves in an environment that gave rise to the worlds monotheistic religions be it on the Arabian peninsula, here we stay in the Saharan/Sahel band stretching from the West-Atlantic coast to the highlands of Ethiopia in the east of the continent, a vast area where fresh water tends to come at a premium , where the sun is burning down during daytime and nighttime can be cold, where the moon is the sole light source apart from the warming campfires. Is it any surprise then that singing and making music together lifted the spirits of those gathering in these desolate landscapes.

Today a lady from Mali, who unlike most of her female peers got to see some of the world in her youth, elite background yes but she used her status to give a voice to the plight of women in her country.  A strong woman not afraid to go against the local grain, a smart woman as well as she managed to rise above the Malinese dust and make a name for herself in the west, by hard work and finding the right support, she's made 5 albums the past 15 years 3 of which you'll find here .....N'joy

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Rokia Traoré (born January 26, 1974) is a Victoires de la Musique award-winning Malian singer, songwriter and guitarist. Born in Mali as a member of the Bambara ethnic group, her father was a diplomat and she travelled widely in her youth. She visited such countries as Algeria, Saudi Arabia, France and Belgium and was exposed to a wide variety of influences. Her hometown of Kolokani is in the northwestern part of Mali's Koulikoro region.

While the Bamana have a tradition of griot performing at weddings, members of the nobility, such as Rokia, are discouraged from performing as musicians. Rokia attended lycée in Mali while her father was stationed in Brussels and started performing publicly as a university student in Bamako. Unusually for a female musician in Africa, Rokia plays acoustic guitar as well as sings, and she uses vocal harmonies in her arrangements which are rare in Malian music. In 1997, she linked with Mali musician Ali Farka Touré which raised her profile. She won an Radio France Internationale prize as "African Discovery" of 1997, an honor previously won by Mali's Habib Koité in 1993. As well as guitar she plays ngoni (lute) and balafon.

Her first album Mouneïssa (Label Bleu), released in late 1997 in Mali and September 1, 1998 in Europe, was acclaimed for its fresh treatment and unqualifiable combinations of several Malian music traditions such as her use of the ngoni and the balafon. It sold over 40,000 copies in Europe. Traore's musical style, however, has little in common with the griottes. Unlike their signature wailing sound, her voice is smooth and gentle, and her arrangements, while somewhat minimalist, make use of both traditional instruments like the balafon, n'goni, and kora, as well as acoustic guitar and electric bass. That sound is evident on her debut release, Mouneissa, from 1998, but most evident on her 2000 release, Wanita. For Wanita, Traore wrote and arranged the entire album, seizing the controls from a male engineer who believed that a young girl was incapable of handling the production of an album. The result shows a deeply personal and individual style which reflects both innovation and tradition. On July 11, 2000, her second album Wanita was released. The album was widely acclaimed with The New York Times nominating it as one of its critics' albums of the year.

She followed the set with Bowmboï in 2003, for Nonesuch which was co-produced by Judith Sherman and Thomas Weill; she handled all the band's arrangements, it has two tracks recorded with the Kronos Quartet but still sung in the Bamana language, and was awarded the prestigious BBC Radio 3 World Music Award.  She followed the set with Bowmboï in 2003, for Nonesuch which was co-produced by Judith Sherman and Thomas Weill; she handled all the band's arrangements. As of 2005, she has been nominated three times for this award. She played at WOMAD in 2004 and completed her first tour of North America in the same year.

In 2005 she performed at the "Africa Live" festival, held in Dakar (Senegal) on 12 and 13 March 2005, where several great names of African music were present, including: Malians Ali Farka Touré, Salif Keïta, Oumou Sangaré, Tinariwen, Tiken Jah Fakoly of Côte d'Ivoire, Cameronian Manu Dibango, Algerian Khaled, Senegalese Didier Awadi, Baaba Maal and Youssou N'Dour, and the French rapper Joey Starr. These concerts were dedicated to the fight against malaria in Africa.

In 2005 she also performed at the Youssou N'dour and Friends concert in Geneva, which was also a supporting gala against malaria, with Peter Gabriel, Amadou and Mariam, Gilberto Gil, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Neneh Cherry. In December 2006 Peter Sellars' New Crowned Hope festival, which is part of the City of Vienna's celebrations commemorating Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birthday 250 years ago, saw the world premiere of Wati, a performance by Rokia Traoré and the Klangforum Wien.

On May 6, 2008, her album, "Tchamantché", was released. Rokia was the winner of the Best Artist category in the inaugural Songlines Music Awards (2009) - announced May 1, 2009 - the new 'world music' awards organised by the UK-based magazine, Songlines.

She collaborated with Nobel Prize–winning novelist Toni Morrison and director Peter Sellars on the theatre piece Desdemona, where she wrote the music for, bringing an African dimension to the story of Shakespeare’s tragic heroine. The piece premiered in Vienna in the summer of 2011 and received its New York premiere at Lincoln Center that fall; its UK premiere was at the Barbican in London in the summer of 2012. The Guardian called it “a remarkable, challenging and bravely original new work.” It was the experience of acting in Desdemona, she says, that led her to create the Damou (Dream) project, performed in London last year, in which she showed her skills as a storyteller, as well as a singer, with her version of stories from The Epic of Soundiata, dealing with events leading to the birth of Africa’s legendary ruler.

In September 2012, she will be featured in a campaign called "30 Songs / 30 Days" to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book. Produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey) in April of 2013., her latest album "Beautiful Africa" was released. She also performed at Glastonbury Festival last month.

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Wanita is a mild quantum leap from Traoré's debut, Mouneïssa. The style she cultivated on her debut -- a glorious mix of the singer/songwriter with the rootsy, acoustic instruments of her native Mali -- is refined here, and she approaches everything with more confidence. She's very much a rarity in African terms, a female singer/songwriter, and one whose lyrics are very progressive, dealing with the rights of women in a patriarchal society. But she's representative of a new generation that has brought forth a lot of professional women, for whom she's become a figurehead. She lauds hard work, her people, and the freedom to love. Her own acoustic guitar work might be relatively simple, but the arrangements of her band fill out the sound wonderfully, especially the large, xylophone-like balafon and the n'goni, a kind of lute. By keeping this very Malian, Traoré ensures her music remains quite authentic, and speaks to her own people, rather than any sellout to Western values. At the same time, it's very appealing and rich on its own terms, her lulling voice a far cry from the stridency of many Malian female Wassoulou singers, something Western ears can accept quite readily -- a kind of African Joni Mitchell, but with a more acute social conscience. Hers is a talent that's beginning to find full bloom with this record, fulfilling the promise of her earlier disc, and proving that the ground she broke before is a very fertile furrow indeed. Wanita establishes her at the head of a genre, not merely by virtue of doing it first, but by the sheer talent as a writer and singer which she brings to it.

Rokia Traoré - Wanita (flac  348mb)

01 Kanan Neni 6:14
02 Mouso Niyalén 5:16
03 Souba 5:31
04 Yèrè Uolo 4:12
05 N'Gotolén 5:14
06 Wanita 5:35
07 Château De Sable 5:37
08 Yaafa N'Ma 5:58
09 Sako Bê Kê 2:58
10 Mancipera 5:27
11 Tchwa 5:50

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For her third outing, Rokia Traore refines the work on her first two discs. In other words, she's a Malian singer/songwriter, aware of her country's roots, but hardly bound by them. She's not a griotte, and she's not following in the Wassoulou footsteps of, say, Oumou Sangare. With a gentle, lulling voice and acoustic instrumentation she tells her tales. Even on the faster material, such as "Mariama," where she duets with Ousame Sacko, there's a mildness -- although it covers some steel. The true surprises here are the pair of cuts where she works with the Kronos Quartet, making for a combination that works far more effectively than anyone might expect. "Manian," for example, is string-heavy, but still utterly natural, and quite ineffably West African. Traore has become an accomplished writer, one whose reflective words and melodies seep into the brain and stay there. With this she's turned the corner to major international stardom.

Rokia Traoré - Bowmboi (flac 353mb)

01 M'Bifo 6:14
02 Sara 5:54
03 Kôté Don 5:43
04 Mariama 5:36
05 Manian 6:04
06 Déli 6:00
07 Niènafing 3:38
08 Kèlè Mandi 4:11
09 Kanou 6:52
10 Bowmboï 9:57

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Malian singer, songwriter, and guitarist Rokia Traoré is no stranger to European audiences. Her three previous offerings and her numerous tours and high-level showcases -- at WOMAD and Africa Live, and as part of Youssou N'Dour & Friends in Geneva, to name a few -- have garnered her a large and devoted fan base. Her music is not so well known in the United States, but with the release of Tchamantché on Tama/Nonesuch, this should change. Traoré has always been a tradition breaker.

On Tchamantché, Traoré goes a step further: most Malian vocalists of the feminine gender tend to sing stridently, in over the top voices about elements of pride and heritage. She does neither. Her voice is intimate and almost understated, and her songs are filled with the plight of Africans who struggle for the most basic of human amenities: clean water, food, clothing, and shelter. Her politics are not rooted in rage, but in compassion. But even this isn't enough for Traoré. She has fashioned a new sound from the tenets of Malian folk forms with her unique blend of guitars (electric and acoustic), n'gouni, classical harp, and kora, all layered in staggered rhythms with snares, a full drum kit, and percussion instruments. This is beautifully evident on the album's fifth cut, "Kounandi," the taut weave of instruments above the rhythms creating an intoxicating tapestry of root sounds that somehow transcend their basic tonalities and become something new. This is followed with the gorgeous "Koronoko," where these instruments, along with a popping bassline and staggered web of harmony vocals, act as another layer of instruments and tonalities. But then, there isn't a weak moment on Tchamantché. Its lyrics (all translated into English for Amerikanskis) -- full of pain, celebration, spirituality, steely pointed notions of justice, and critique -- are only underscored by this heady, complex mix of stylistic forms and styles that has become a sound unique to Rokia Traoré.

Rokia Traoré - Tchamantché   (flac  257mb)

01 Dounia 6:20
02 Dianfa 4:33
03 Zen 4:35
04 Aimer 4:13
05 Kounandi 5:24
06 Koronoko 4:33
07 Tounka 3:10
08 Tchamantché 4:15
09 A Ou Ni Sou 3:55

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Karl said...

Absolutely incredible stuff, as always! Thanks for all the mindblowing posts. Quick question: there's no way you could re-up Jah Wobble "Betrayal", is there? Thanks for all your work here!

Rho said...

Hello Karl, why not ? Considering i've posted plenty of Wobble here you can consider me a fan, hence re-uploading his classic Betrayal is as easy said as done..N'joy

Karl said...

Thanks - much appreciated!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!!!
Any chance for reup Rokia Traoré - Tchamantché in flac?

santino said...

thank you very much for reposting