Boubacar Traore: Malian Guitar Genius

August 5, 2006

Last night I discovered a valuable musical treasure, Boubacar Traore. Traore, known affectionately as “KarKar”, blends hauntingly beautiful and hypnotic guitar melodies with his equally gorgeous voice and lyrics. His music was played on radio all over Mali during the period following its hard-fought war for independence from French control. For 20 years I have admired Ali Farka Toure (1939-2006) and recommended his music to everyone I can reach. I will still do that, of course, but now I realize that Ali Farka Toure’s style would not exist without KarKar (and, no doubt, many other artists that influenced them both). Here is a radio broadcast KarKar did live at KCRW in Santa Monica, California. It’s a little heavy on talk, involving a translator, but the music is amazing. The Multnomah County Library has all kinds of Boubacar Traore stuff: 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, and more.

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