Rokia Traoré with Sinkane
Tickets: $25-$45; 15% discount for GW Students
Defying the conventions of world music, Malian singer/songwriter Rokia Traoré dismisses the notion of genre, effortlessly blending the sounds of Mali with blues, rock, jazz, and folk. One of the most inventive artists in Africa today, Rokia is remarkable not just for the range of her powerful and emotional voice but also for her stunning live performances that range from up-tempo guitar-led pop to haunting and melancholy ballads. On her upcoming release, Né So (Home), Rokia turns to friends John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), and Devendra Banhart to help her express her deep sadness at the state of turmoil in her native Mali. Lamenting her homeland’s loss of life, culture, and traditions, Rokia will draw audiences in with a striking translation from emotion to song, including transcriptions of some of Toni Morrison’s prolific writings. Né So was released on February 12, 2016, on Nonesuch Records.
Opening for Rokia Traoré will be Sinkane. Sinkane’s Ahmed Gallab was born in London to Sudanese exiles, returned to Sudan for part of his childhood, and grew up moving around the US. Now settled in Brooklyn, Sinkane draws on his wildly varied upbringing in his pan-African, funky, global pop music. Gallab is a multi-instrumentalist who has played with bands like Of Montreal, Yeasayer and Caribou. He recently headed up Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor, a project celebrating the synth-driven electronic funk of Nigerian singer William Onyeabor, which brought together musicians like David Byrne, Money Mark, Pat Mahoney, Devonté Hynes and Joshua Redman. Sinkane is in many ways an American parallel to Rokia Traore’s Malian, yet entirely cosmopolitan, pan-African pop.