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Boubacar Traore


(Disques Label Bleu)

This quiet, yet politically charged, CD links together Africa and American blues music. Primarily the connection remains narratively thematic in that Traore and traditional blues both deal with the sorrow of quotidian life and love. The musical structure of Traore’s music does not necessarily follow the 1-4-5 necessity of blues, though his music is distinctly influenced by 1960s and 1970s African-American pop music.

Macire is a beautiful and melancholy production. Traore’s songs are full of sadness and longing. In his almost 70 years, Traore has seen his share of hard work and death. He lost five of his 11 children (two in the same week); his wife died shortly after their last child was born. After becoming a Malian sensation in the 1960s, Traore faded into relative obscurity as he carved a living as a tailor and farmer. After his wife’s death, Traore moved to France where his music began to receive attention throughout Europe. This CD marks the resurgence or reappearance of Traore into the musical public.

Mixing guitar and traditional instruments, Traore’s music eases into the sad crevices of my heart, but not without leaving me with a sense that Traore has complete control over the sorrow and love so musically attendant to his life. Though he is hailed as a link between Africa and the blues, his music speaks louder by itself than in attempt at crossover. Traore’s music is not blues, it remains his own concoction of guitar and melancholy. Buy it to feel warm and content about being sad.

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