This November, the University of Victoria will get a dose of multicultural music from the other side of the world with the announcement of its latest concert.
Award-winning singer, songwriter and guitarist Rokia Traoré is headlining the Farquhar Auditorium on Nov. 5, performing her unique and diverse style of music, blending traditional African instrumentals with a Western pop/rock influence. The show is co-presented by UVic and the Victoria Jazz Society.
Born in Mali, Traoré got to see the world with her father, who was a diplomat in the West African country. She gained musical influences from her travels in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, France and Belgium, where she became exposed to classical, jazz, pop and traditional Indian music.
Traoré began performing while in university in Mali’s capital, Bamako, and soon won a Radio France Internationale prize of “African Discovery” in 1997. She released her debut record, Mouneïssa, to critical acclaim for its mix of original and traditional Malian music. Her follow-up, 2000’s Wanita, was nominated as one of The New York Times critics’ albums of the year.
Traoré is touring under her sixth studio album, Né So, meaning “home” in Bambara, released earlier this year. The record touches on her traditional African roots and includes contributions from legendary Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, American novelist Toni Morrison and Venezuelan American singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart.
A humanitarian, Traoré is the United Nations Refugee Agency’s Regional Goodwill Ambassador for West and Central Africa, raising awareness for those who have been forcibly displaced.
Traoré lights up Farquhar on Nov. 5 at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $29, $37 and $45 plus service charges, and are available in person at the UVic box office (3800 Finnerty Rd.), by phone at 250-721-8480 or online at tickets.uvic.ca.