Sunday, December 06, 2009


An exhausted but glowing Rokia at the end of the night

Yes , Oui I know I've been slacking a lot lately carried out with my usual December blues..but I'm back ,backkk and ready to work...thank you for being patient with me:)

So I just went to see Miss Rokia Traore who was performing in Dakar last week. I've had the chance to watch her perform in New York City a couple of years ago at Canergie Hall. Her first CD , "Mouneissa" helped me out so many times during those college lonely dorm nights, lol I remenber that I would wear my african loincloth ,put on my socks (lame I know lol) light up candles and put her CD on repeat and go to sleep. Her soft voice reminded me of my sweet Africa, made me feel what being African meant to me, made me long for those baptism ceremonies under the hot sun, made me long for trips on our local buses "car rapide " as we would say in Senegal and "dourou dourouni "in Mali.

Through her sweet voice I remenbered my mother's advices, my aunties sweet but firm advices about how to conduct myself within the society. Rokia made me try to solve the puzzle of authentic bambara, she just helped me feel "my Africa".
Ok yes you get that I love her, however if you were to ask people like my mother or father or some other Malian adults how they felt about her, they would basically tell you with a laugh that they don't connect with her. In Mali, a lot of people feel that her music is too "world music" , "too white", they would rather listen to Oumou Sangare, or Salif Keita. They don't understand Rokia's musical language, right before leaving for the concert I was having a conversation with my mother about her , and she was telling me that Rokia's music was for the diaspora not for them..
I left a bit frustrated as I wanted mum to be as excited as I was but anywhoo...As I kinda expected it, there were just a few brown faces among the public, my black people I guess weren't feeling Rokia enough to spend 8000 CFA Francs..Yes I know it was a bit expensive but that's about the same amount or even less that people spend on a regular "Dakar saturday night" at the local clubs ect..I'm just saying.
With a new haircut , sahara inspired pants and a simple tank top Miss Rokia came on stage tout doucement,she blessed us at first with a slow traditional song on the guitar , it as if she was asking the blessings of the ancestors. The concert lasted a good 2 hours , I wasn't too familiar with her new CD "Tchemantie" as I didn't want to listen to it prior to going to see her. She took us on a visit to that chapter of personal musical journey, lyrics in french , english bues rythm a bit of pop and good old Rock & Roll. Some of the songs that stood out for me are"Dounia", "Zen" and "Tounka"
She talked to us about the alarming consequences of mass imigration and how she felt that the best thing would be for Africans to be able to come and go as they please , and how Mama Africa needs us..she's absolutely right but that's a different post..

Rokia was really generous with us that night, at the end of her concert she let totally loose danced, improvised songs on stage, came down to greet some of her fans and danced with them..
I'm so used to seeing her so poised , this was def' a new Rokia I was experiencing..It seemed as if she was happy in her own skin, happy with her musical choices and just having a good time..
Yep I left , looking forward to discovering again in a future musical chapter, I wonder what she will do that time...

Here are a few cool links:
Rokia performing Tounka, HERE

Djaa my Bamana Sistas sont trop dedans:)
Eyeee Wayeee:)


Mimi said...

Hi there:
Long time no see, or heard :-). I saw you at the last BC event with Mame Fagueye, but by the time I came over to say hi you had subitely dissapeared.....
Hope everything is good in the hood!
A friend of mine send me this interesting article from the NY times, and I thought you might enjoy it.

Anna Renee said...

What a beautiful voice she has! I can totally understand how she would be a comfort to you in your homesickness. Such a calming, affirming, alluring voice for a beautiful lady! Im glad I waited for you to come back to your blog! Sometimes, the blues hits us and we just have to flow through to the other side where the joy is! Welcome back!

Anna Renee said...

Hey, I just took a second look at your blog! This is da bomb! I LOVE your lists of African blogs by country! And you included us lil ole African Americans! This is the spirit I'm trying to capture in my blog as well! The unity of black folks--at home and the diaspora! Bless you dear Sister! You are certainly doin it well!!!!