Rokia Traoré is known for being a champion of human rights almost as much for a sound that blends elements of blues, rock, and pop with traditional African instruments and sounds. She performs at the Chan Centre Sunday night (Nov. 17).
This is the Malian singer-songwriter’s first Vancouver appearance in ten years.
The daughter of a diplomat from the Bambara ethnic group, Traoré travelled widely as a young woman and was exposed to a wide variety of musical and cultural influences. Her career has included collaborations with artists such as the Kronos Quartet, Dianne Reeves, and director Peter Sellers. She was recently honoured by the French government with the distinction of Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for her contributions to the arts.
Traoré is on tour for her latest album, the critically acclaimed 2013 release Beautiful Africa. Recorded in 2012 at the height of the Islamist uprising in Northern Mali, Beautiful Africa has been described as a love song to her birthplace that acknowledges both its splendour and challenges. In addition to singing, in concert Traoré accompanies herself on guitar, balafon, and ngoni (lute). In Vancouver, her band includes Ruth Goller (bass guitar), Bintou Soumbounou (backing vocals), Dave De Rose (drums), Fatim Kouyaté (backing vocals), Giovanni Ferrario (guitar), and Marnah Diabaté (ngoni).
Along with Traoré’s show, the film Living Memory: Six Sketches of Mali Today will be screened at 5:30 p.m. (just prior to the concert) in the Royal Bank Cinema inside the Chan Centre. The screening of the acclaimed documentary is free for ticket holders.
Rokia Traoré at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, UBC (6265 Crescent Road)
Sunday Nov. 17, 2013 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $36 – $72 at ticketmaster.ca or by phone 1.855.985.2787.