Tuesday 10th July
- Wednesday 11th July
£25.00 - £40.00
Legendary master of African Blues in rare London appearance!!
Boubcar Traore: singer & guitar, Losseni Kone: percussion, Vincetn Bucher: harmonica
“Matching his thoughtful, soulful voice against an acoustic guitar style that mixes blues riffs with West African influences... he's still one of Mali's finest musicians." Guardian
"Lugubrious and disarmingly pretty" Telegraph
One of World Music’s great stars Boubacar Traoré carries within him all the beauty of African blues. A diamond among the jewels of Mandingo (West African) music, he music is a sublime demonstration of Africa’s ancient blues. Only his voice can blend Niger and Mississippi river alluvia 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 American 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. His hits including "Mali Twist" and "Kayeba" provided dance music for a generation who were enjoying freedom for the first time. But then on the 19th November 1968, Modibo Keita’s socialist government was overthrown by a military coup and Traore and his songs were exiled from the airwaves. He was rediscovered in 1987, but propelled by the death of his wife and muse, despairing and distraught, he gave up music and decided to look for work in Paris, where he joined the community of Malian migrant workers and shared their harsh life. In Paris, an English producer discovered him and took him to the studio to record his first album, "Mariama", in 1990. Poignant, spare and melancholic, Traore’s music had changed since his youth in the 60s. Now it was more refined, the art of a mature man expressing his heartaches and joys in song, his unique vocal timbre shrouded in nostalgia and poetry.
His latest album Mali Denhou Is out now on Lusafrica and he is joined for these rare club dates by percussionist Losseni Kone and fabulous, harmonica player Vincent Bucher, whose playing is influenced by Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson.
Guitarist, harmonica player and singer Muntu Valdo opens the show. His music is rooted in the blues, mixing African traditions with striking modernity and technical mastery. Juxtaposing his raw, passionate voice and intensely emotive melodies with an ingenious use of loops, samples and effects.
“Lugubrious and disarmingly pretty” **** Telegraph
Boubacar Traoré 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 the voice of "Kar Kar" (a footballing nickname meaning “The Dribbler” given him by his friends, who also love the beautiful game) can blend Niger and Mississippi river alluvia 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" (Children of independent Mali, we must stand on our feet / Let all the young people return to their homeland / We must build the country together) 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. Kar Kar and his songs were exiled from the airwaves. Returning penniless to Kayes, his hometown in the Kassonké region (to the northeast of Bamako near the Senegalese border), Boubacar became a farm worker, opened a shop with his elder brother - the one who had introduced him to the guitar and given him his first one - and worked 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, but one of his songs says it all: “You can be a king at home, but when you’re a migrant, you’re a nobody.” The legacy of his time in the Barbès immigrant quarter of Paris and the hostel in Montreuil where he sometimes performed is the flat cap the tall Malian wears today.
In Paris, an English producer discovered him and took him to the studio to record his first album, "Mariama", in 1990. Poignant, spare and melancholic, Kar Kar’s music had changed since his youth in the 60s. Now it was more refined, the art of a mature man expressing his heartaches and joys in song, his unique vocal timbre shrouded in nostalgia and poetry. Boubacar Traoré’s life changed quickly after the record’s release. He recorded another 6 albums: "Sécheresse" (Drought) in 1992; "Les enfants de Pierrette" (Pierrette’s Children) in 1995, "Sa Golo" in 1996, "Maciré" in 1999, music from the eponymous film directed by Jacques Sarasin: "Je chanterai pour toi" (I’ll Sing for You) in 2002, and "Kongo Magni" in 2005. Kar Kar made up for lost time, triumphing on stage first in Europe and then in the United States and Canada.
Boubacar Traoré is a discreet, exceptional artist. "Mali Denhou", his first album since 2005, was recorded in warm, friendly surroundings in June 2010 at Studio Moffou, set up by Salif Keita on the outskirts of Bamako. Kar Kar worked with the same musical cast who had performed with him all over the world for years. The first takes were laid down with his old friend Madieye Niang on gourd and Vincent Bucher on harmonica, playing in live conditions.
Vincent Bucher is undoubtedly one of the best harmonicists around today. Influenced by Little Walter, Big Walter Horton and Sonny Boy Williamson, he has toured with many American bluesmen, including Eddie Shaw, Louisiana Red, Magic Slim, Melvin Taylor and Robert Lockwood Junior. In France, Bucher formed a duo with the French-Malagasy Tao Ravao and has played with many African artists, including Lobi Traoré (on 2 albums), Henri Dikongué and Tom Diakité. An unsurpassed stylist with an intense, liquid technique, Vincent fits perfectly into Kar Kar’s highly individual musical world. The Malian is full of praise for the musician, who adds a touch of emotion and exceptional fluidity to his songs. Two of the most highly-regarded young musicians on the Bamako scene - members of Ballaké Sissoko’s group - also feature on several tracks. Mahamadou Kamissoko’s ngoni and Fassery Diabaté’s balafon add a Mandingo ambience and a scent of the Sahel to Kar Kar’s universal, timeless music.
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.
MUNTU VALDO (support)
Muntu Valdo - guitar, harmonica, voice, Ernesto Simpson - drums, Jean Berthon - bass, voice, Yebga Likoba - saxophone, percussions, Ross - saxophone,flute, Esben - Keyboards
info coming shortly...
Support: The Ronnie Scotts All Stars
The Ronnie Scott's All Stars are comprised of some of the greatest talents on the U.K scene, including some of our most regular performers James Pearson (piano), Sam Burgess (bass) and Pedro Segundo (drums)
Musical Director at Ronnie Scott’s and the owner of a ferocious piano technique coupled with a sense of musicality rarely heard, James Pearson is one of the most exciting musicians to have emerged from the U.K in the last 25 years. After working with him, the late jazz legend Sir John Dankworth declared: "James Pearson is an exceptionally gifted artist. His masterful playing makes him head and shoulders above the rest of his contemporaries. He shows signs of true greatness".
Double Bass Despite only being in his early 30’s, already Sam is a stalwart of the UK jazz scene. As well as appearing on numerous film soundtracks such as 'Bridget Jones's Diary' and 'Hannibal'. Sam’s thumping, pounding, relentlessly driving bass lines have been heard accompanying the likes of Bob James, Billy Kilson, Gary Novak, Joe Lock, Dave Kekowski, Guy Barker, Dave O'Higgins, Pete King, Gareth Williams, Claire Martin, Jim Mullen, Alan Barnes, Tim Whitehead, John Horler, Gwyneth Herbert, John Dankworth, The BBC Big Band and Robbie Williams.
At 22 years old Pedro Segundo, Portuguese drummer joins the James Pearson Trio at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.
Born and raised in Lisbon, picked up the drums seriously at the age of eight starting studying classical percussion a year later. In June 2011 he graduates from Guildhall School of Music and Drama in Timpani and Classical Percussion. His musical ability combines a blend of styles creating a unique sound on the drum set. He has played regularly with Dennis Rollins, Femi Temowo, Mário Franco, Cleveland Watkiss and many other artists touring in festivals all around the globe.
Other regular performers include:
Dave Ohm (drums), Natalie Williams (vocals), Alex Garnett (sax), Nigel Price (guitar), Steve Rushton (drums), Polly Gibbons (vocals), Alistair White (trombone), Gary Baldwin (hammond), Al Cherry (guitar), Matt Home (drums), Alan Barnes (sax), Ralph Salmins (drums), Arnie Somogyi (bass), Mark Smith (bass), James Nisbet (guitar), Pete Long (sax), Gerard Presencer (Trumpet), Dave O’Higgins (sax), Alec Dankworth (bass), Steve Fishwick (trumpet) and others...
To find out more, please go to:
Tell us what you think of Boubacar Traore (plus support Muntu Valdo), Support: The Ronnie Scotts All Stars below..