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Rokia Traoré

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Mali

Armando Bellmas
Armando Bellmas
Rokia Traoré

Today on Ecléctico you're listening to singer and musician Rokia Traoré from Mali. This guitar-based song has a mellow rock groove with roots in traditional Malian song. You'll go deeper with an excerpt from an interview between Traoré and Banning Eyre on Afropop Worldwide.

"Ka moun kè" by Rokia Traoré
2013 | Singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Mali

Go deeper.
Rokia Traoré: I think making an album or a song is a process in at least three different steps. First you write a lyric, or you compose the music and then write a lyric, and then you have to put them together. Each step is different. When you're writing, it's about technique—why do you need a break there, and how do you get out of the break, or into the break?

Once I write everything and I play everything to try to sing the lyric and play the music, the way I've done it for 13 years now is to involve Mamah Diabate, the ngoni player I work with. We start working, the two of us. Last time, we also worked after a week of working with Mamah, two of the young singers I taught joined us. They used to sing with it, but it was about singing technique, the European way. That's one of the projects we have in the foundation with youngsters. Two of them recorded the new album with me, and they tour with me now, and they've been involved since the beginning of the album.

Then, after two weeks working with everybody, the song starts to exist for me, and I start singing. And it's not like I write songs thinking of what is good. But in terms of vocal technique, once the song exists, it's for me to follow the song and make it mine and sing on it as if someone else wrote it for me. So that's the most interesting thing, because I love singing, and once I start singing, I feel free, and I feel pleasure in phrasing and finding new ideas, and also pleasure in experiencing new things. Because once I know how to do something, it's no longer interesting. I have to find something new. Maybe that also makes each album different. But it's very natural.

Mali

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