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Boubacar TraoreKongo magni
Considered as a bluesman in the western countries, Boubacar Traore, a.k.a. Kar Kar, is above all someone passionate whose music distils emotions and dreams with simplicity and precision. His powerful and warm voice sings his country’s history, the hope and despair of the Malian people, their love and expectations, the world surrounding them – striking melodies, all inspired from the Kassonke Malian tradition in which he has always bathed in.
His inimitable style warmhearted as well as wistful can be heard on his latest album, “Kongo Magni” released in 2005 by the label Marabi. Boubacar’s fame takes roots in the 1950s. He entertains the Malian post-independence days, when Bamako dances to “Mali Twist” or “Kabeya”. In these hits only broadcasted on the radio, Kar Kar urges his fellow citizens to rebuild the country. A whole generation is moved. With his guitar and leather jacket, he is seen as the Malian Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley by the youth of the time. But soon starts the cultural revolution of Modibo Keita’s socialist regime. Boubacar is broke and cannot afford producing records. He then heads back to Kayes, the region where he was born in 1942. Hence, 400 kilometers from Bamako, he works as a tailor, a merchant, then as farm representative. Away from the stage and his craft for twenty years, everybody believes he is dead until 1987 when National Television invites him for a live show.
Slight euphoria, the artist is born again. But unfortunately at the same period (1989), he looses his wife Pierrette whose memory remains as one of his major inspiration. Kar Kar then settles as a factory worker in France though still working on his music. Within two years, he records two albums; concerts follow on in Switzerland, Canada and the United States. At the initiative of art magazine Revue Noire, the singer heads back to Bamako to record his third album on which can be found major figures of Malian music – Ali Farka Touré, Toumani Diabaté, Kélétigui Diabaté. Musiques Métisses Festival in Angouleme welcomes him in 1991 and Christian Mousset produces in 1996 for the label Bleu Indigo the album “Sa Golo”. A second one, “Maciré”, follows in 1999. His discography grows again in 2002 with the release of “Je chanterai pour toi” (Marabi), the official soundtrack to Jacques Sarasin’s movie adapted from the book “Mali Blues” by Lieve Jorris (Acte Sud).
Ever since, the singer has been traveling the world and spreading this particular blues from Sahel throughout the tours and albums. Reference in Europe (where his shows are like a mass for an ever growing and younger audience) and in the United States (counting Martin Scorsese among his fans who has always wanted to make a biopic about the artist); Boubacar Traore remains a revered artist in his country – Mali.
Other albums by same artist