Rokia Traoré’s thoughts on refugees and colonisation

Rokia Traore in hotel

by Charlie Crooijmans

In the beginning of March singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré from Mali came to Amsterdam to do an exclusive concert at the North Sea Jazz Club. She was touring round Europe to present her wonderful new album ‘Né So’. At my work at VPRO Vrije Geluiden (Dutch cross media music channel), I am coordinating a group of young people who are thinking about alternative ways to present music and musicians. One of them, the animator Wisse Beets, wanted to do an interview with Rokia without asking her any questions. Instead, he showed her some drawings she could reflect on, with which he made an animation (see below). Her thoughts on a drawing of a half sinking boat full of people were so profound, I decided to transcribe them for News and Noise! Continue reading

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Singing is a way to resist – an interview with Rokia Traoré

Rokia Traore at Babel Med, photo: CCby Charlie Crooijmans

Even though there will be elections in Mali on 28 Juli, the situation remains insecure and dangerous. Lots of Malian musicians are touring around the world. Not only because they are very successful, but they also need to spread the message of solidarity and unity. One of those artists is Rokia Traoré. She was at the Babel Med 2013 to receive an award and to participate in a conference about Music in Resistance with Olev Reitov (Freemuse), Mariem Hassan, and Gennardo de Rosa (Musica Contre le Maffia). At one moment she was saying something about women in polygamous marriages who expresses themselves through singing. There wasn’t much time for her to elaborate on this subject, but afterwards she found a moment in her tight schedule to tell me more about it.

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