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Rokia Traoré Praises Mali's 'Iron Women'

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Friday September 27, 2013

From NPR

Rokia Traoré On Taking Up Music, And Mali’s ‘Iron Women’
By: NPR Staff

When war broke out in the West African nation of Mali last year, one of the targets was that country’s ancient music tradition. As Islamist rebels occupied northern Mali, they banned music and shut down clubs and record shops.

At the time, Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré was finishing her fifth album. Traoré is the daughter of a Malian diplomat, so she grew up moving from continent to continent, absorbing all kinds of musical influences. But her homeland takes center stage on her new record, Beautiful Africa.

“I am singing about all my relatives and friends living in the countryside in Mali and in Africa,” Traoré says of the album’s closing track, “Sarama.” “These women are simply amazing, because when I feel tired I imagine them in their life of every day. They never show that they are tired. They are like iron women: all the time working, but working and smiling and taking care of everything with nothing to support them.

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