Last week we headed down to the Corn Exchange at the Brighton Dome to see award-winning Malian delight Rokia Traore kick off her six date tour of the UK, in celebration of her critically acclaimed new album Beautiful Africa.
Amongst a colourful crowd of Brightonians, the West-African singer/songwriter glided from traditional Malian folk music to African rock and roll that painted every corner of the venue hall. Earthy-vibrato acapella’s were decorated with walking basslines, rock-steady rhythms, staccato guitar licks and traditional twangs from the kora (West-African harp).
Showcasing songs from the new album, Rokia sang in the West African language of Bambara, as well as French and occasional bursts of English that took us on a journey across the globe. Her unique blend of African genres pulled us in all sorts of directions, and coupled with Rokia’s beaming smile, we were grooving from start to finish.
Time Out described her live show as ‘arguably the most exciting, most thrilling live African music show around’. We couldn’t agree more.