City Paper is not for tourists
Singer Rokia Traoré is different than most Malian performers who tour the globe. For one thing, she’s the daughter of a diplomat and not a member of a hereditary caste of griots or a desert resident like many of the country’s traditional musicians. Her musical style also varies: She frequently sings in a delicate Afro-folk style while occasionally emoting forcefully over rhythmic grooves more reflective of her homeland. Traoré’s latest album, Né So (which means “home”), was produced by John Parish, an associate of PJ Harvey, and includes guest spots from Devendra Banhart and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones. Quieter than her last album, Beautiful Africa, Traoré sings mournfully on Né So in Bambara, French, and English about the global refugee crisis, the violence that has plagued Mali, and the racism that still exists worldwide. A charismatic live performer, look for Traoré to charm with both delicate artistry and impressive octave climbing. Rokia Traoré performs with Sinkane at 8 p.m. at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University, 730 21st St. NW. $25–$45. (202) 994-6800. lisner.gwu.edu.