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Friday, 11 July 2014

Rokia Traore – Beautiful Africa

A quality album form Mali’s premier songstress. She’s strong, statuesque and possesses a voice so distinctive and powerful it has a timbre and frequency that can turn eggnog into Theakston’s Old Peculiar and change cloves into Opal Fruits. It’s a beautiful, rich and balanced sound that combines seamlessly with the mellow guitars on this album and lends itself perfectly to the afro-french atmosphere of this collection of songs.

Rokia has everything going for her. For starters her voice is nothing short of miraculous and she could put most western singers in their place if she felt the need to. She looks like a typical Amazonian woman, tall, proud and majestic. And she’s got a great name, she’s a multi-instrumentalist and she produces astonishing pieces of music. What’s not to like?

‘Beautiful Africa’ is a guitar soaked, chilled experience, possibly best enjoyed somewhere exotic with a cocktail, but works just as well in your back garden in Barnsley with a can of beer. All the tracks are crackers but worthy of special mentions are the pulsing ‘Sikey’, the passion of ‘Beautiful Africa,’ and the rolling waves of comfort that is ‘Lalla’. The outstanding track is the trance inducing calm of ‘Ka Moun Ke’ which comes as near to sing-a-long territory as the gulf in talent between myself and Rokia will allow.

A true global superstar and infinitely superior to all those singers we are led to believe are ‘great’ in the Western world. Robbie Williams springs to mind for some reason. A great album from a great performer.

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