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Rokia Traore Launches Mali Music Foundation

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Wednesday May 27, 2009

As if the business of keeping a band on the road were not enough of a challenge, Rokia Traoré is now playing the role of cultural administrator, too.

Having set up a music foundation in her homeland, the Malian singer-guitarist has been plunged into preparations for its launch. After years of living in the provincial calm of Amiens, north of Paris, she will spend much of the next five years in Mali’s capital, Bamako, a city that has become the unofficial capital of world music.

As she has to keep a toehold in Europe, where her reputation is flourishing, she is also looking for a place to live in the French capital. Add to that her duties as the mother of a three-year-old son and you have all the ingredients of an impossibly complicated life. Traoré, though, seems remarkably unruffled as she sits in a west London hotel. Like the music on her current album, Tchamantché, the 35-year-old performer is elegant, restrained and unflustered. A diplomat’s daughter whose work draws on the ancient traditions of her landlocked West African nation, she is every inch the 21st-century artist, accustomed to shuttling back and forth — literally and metaphorically — between two worlds.

Click here to read the full article at Times Online.



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