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Je chanterai pour toi
Sunday, 21.02.2016, 20:02
oh what a night...
Boubacar Traoré (ML)
Big man. Big heart. Big music.

Born in Kayes, Mali in 1942 Boubacar at one time was the undisputed King Elvis Presley of Mali or if you prefer, Chuck Berry. Either way definitely was the most influential musician in the land. His fame was such that in the 60’s the folks of Mali woke up every morning listening to his «Mali Twist» - which put Chubby Checker to shame – and which came with the message to help together build up the recently independent republic.

He picked up playing the guitar from his brother who studied music in Cuba and due to this early influence his blues interpretations also feature Afrocuban and American blues influences as well as local Kassonke rhythms. His nickname Kar Kar came from playing soccer, it denotes a player who brilliantly holds on to the ball – perhaps a step longer than he should.  Because of his trademark black leather jacket he was also called «Kar Kar, le blouson noir». When the country fell on hard times so did Boubacar and he disappeared from the public eye for almost 20 years. Only to be re-discovered by a TV crew and his seemingly dead-as-the-Dead-Sea career was miraculously resurrected. Today together with Ali Farka Toure, Lobi Traore and Diabate Toumani he’s a part of Mali’s music royalty, a country that is credited with being the birthplace of the blues as we know it.

Kar Kar is now pushing into his 70’s and he projects a savoir de vivre and a wisdom that are attributes of a well-lived life. You can hear it in his album «Mbalimaou» from 2015 produced by Ballake Sissoko and Christian Mousset at the Bogolan Studio in Bamako. It’s the latest milestone in an up-down-up and very illustrious career and it excels with emotional, easy flowing bluesy and swing-like musical meanderings. Once again, on our worldmusic island the great Boubacar Traoré. «Je chanterai pour toi ce soir.» Forever and a day.

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