Coming To The Stage

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Malian-born singer, songwriter, and guitarist Rokia Traore is a new-generation griot bringing uplifting and powerful narration wrapped in a warm, often lilting voice.

The daughter of a diplomat, Rokia's music is brushed with her wide reaching cultural influences that stretch from Europe and extend their arms across Western Africa and the Middle East. Reminiscent of late South African singer Miriam Makeba with the use of traditional African instruments (the balafon) and the soft pitter patter of her undulating vocals, Rokia offers a similarly refreshing chant to her music.

Rokia's music, like much of traditional African music as a whole, is centered heavily on the incorporation of instruments. The balafon--a xylophone-like percussion instrument very common in West African--plays a large role, and can be heard in the song "Zen." The ngoni (lute), guitars, drums, even Rokia's manipulation of her tongue and throat produce a sound similar to that of the Xhosa language of South Africa.

If you're in D.C in April, be sure to catch Rokia performing at the Lisner Auditorium on April 11th at 7pm.

Also, be sure to check out fellow West African songbird Angelique Kidjo from Benin, who will be performing at the same venue on March 27th!

And while we have your attention with upcoming shows this Spring, if you missed Mayer Hawthorne performing in the District last year, don't fret. Mayer (aka Andrew Cohen, hailing from Ann Arbor, Michigan) will be performing hits from his soul album 'A Strange Arrangement' at the following venues in March:

Ottobar in Baltimore on March 5th.
The Rock and Roll Hotel in D.C on March 8th.
Both shows start at 8pm, and Nikki Jean, a Minnesota native who you may recognize from having worked with Chicago native Lupe Fiasco (Midwest stand up!) will be opening. I'm definitely planning on being in the building for all of these shows :)

Shows found via Express D.C

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