Boubacar Traoré (Mali)

Boubacar Traoré (Mali)

Boubacar Traoré (Mali)

Debut Australian tour….

Boubacar Traoré (Aka Kar Kar) carries within him all the beauty of African blues. A diamond among the jewels of Mandingo music, he shines with the dark glow of exceptional purity. Only his voice can blend Niger and Mississippi river with such moving authenticity. His unique, inimitable, self-taught guitar technique owes a great deal to his kora influences, but its shades and phrasing also suggest the great black bluesmen of the deep South: Blind Willie McTell, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and others.

Back in the 60s when the euphoria of African independence reigned, the 20-year-old Boubacar Traoré was Mali’s Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. He was the first to play Mandingo-based music on electric guitar, long before his junior, Ali Farka Touré.

In those days, Malians would wake to the sound of Boubacar’s poignant voice and saturated riffs. Hits including “Mali Twist” and “Kayeba” provided dance music for a generation who were enjoying freedom for the first time. But then the celebrations and lyrical illusions ended. On the 19th November 1968, a bitter wind blew across Mali when Modibo Keita’s socialist government was overthrown by a military coup. Boubacar and his songs were exiled from the airwaves. Returning penniless to Kayes, his hometown in the Kassonké region, he became a farm worker and opened a shop with his elder brother, working to feed his family.

He was rediscovered in 1987 when reporters from Malian national television visited Kayes. “Kar, you have to come to Bamako. You’ve never been seen on television since it began. Everyone should realise you’re not dead, you’re alive…” It was a renaissance for the artist. People were amazed to see me. Most of them had only heard me on the radio,” he said at the time. Yet fate was to put a stop to Kar Kar’s musical rebirth. Pierrette, his beautiful mixed-race wife, his muse, his love, died bringing their last child into the world. Despairing and distraught, Kar Kar became a shadow of himself. It was then that he decided to look for work in Paris, where he joined the community of Malian migrant workers and shared their harsh life. “I was a building worker for two years,” is his only comment on this personal experience.

In Paris, an English producer discovered him and took him to the studio to record his first album, “Mariama”, in 1990.HE recorded another six albums up until “Mali Denhou” recorded in 2010 at Salif Keita’s studio in the outskirts of Bamako. Boubacar Traoré is respected and acclaimed in Mali, especially by young people. They are rediscovering the artist, one of the founding fathers and great ambassadors of modern Mandingo music. When his international tours end, Kar Kar returns to the piece of land he has bought on a hill in Bamako. There, he raises sheep and works a vegetable plot, his pride and joy. “In Mali, everyone is a farmer. It’s the most reliable way of making a living.”

Check a cool doco here:

Check the live clip here: 

Dont miss this giant of African blues debut Australian shows:

Sat 17th Nov The Arts Centre for AWME (Melbourne, VIC)
Sun 18th Nov Secret Music Party (Sydney) NSW
Tues 20th The Clarendon, (Katoomba) NSW
Wed 21 Kantara House, Central Coast, NSW
Thurs 22  & Fri 23rd Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby

For more info : or (02) 9519 4149

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