ROKIA TRAORE

Tchamantche

2009-01-24

Singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Rokia Traore describes her music as "something contemporary with traditional instruments". This is Ms. Traore's fourth release. Her first one was released in 1998 and received the Radio France International Prize for African Discovery of the Year. This is a pretty album. It is comprised of Rokia's pleasing voice, a Gretsch guitar, the n'goni (a tiny West-African lute), classical harp, traditional percussion, and backing vocals. Human beat box, Sly Johnson, adds to the mix as well. I have to point out "Kounandi" as a nice piece featuring traditional harp and guitar keeping the beat for the lovely vocals. "Tounka" is nicely upbeat and features more of a pop sound with its kit drums. All these songs were written by Rokia, herself, except for the Gershwin piece, "The Man I Love", which was originally made popular by Billy Holiday. Reviewed by Rebecca Ruth.

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