Malian singer Rokia Traoré blends African music with European and American folk music to create a sound that is interesting, balanced, and beautiful. As someone who fits more comfortably on the metal side of the spectrum, I have not removed this disc from my stereo since I first listened to it a month ago. Rokia Traoré is on permanent rotation (amongst Converge and Black Sabbath, mind you).
Her voice is clear, well-studied, and flawless. Traoré makes the slightest vocal trill sound like the auditory equivalent of a da Vinci. It is a voice that trembles with pain and rumbles with anger (Nina Simone comes to mind) while delivering a sweetly joyous edge (a la Joni Mitchell).
The production value on this album is also incredible. I love the crispness with which the vocals and instruments were recorded. I actually can’t think of enough positive commentary to fit in this review. Sexy, soulful, and fantastic—make sure to check out her music on YouTube for live performances that will also blow you away.