THIS Thursday, July 12 a Malian music legend will be making a very special appearance at this year’s Earagail Arts Festival (July 7 to 22).
Every year the festival welcomes artists from all around the globe and this year it is delighted to welcome legendary guitarist and singer, Boubacar Traoré.
Traoré is a renowned singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Kayes, Mali who at the age of 70 is still bringing his music to fans all over the world.
He is one of those Malian musicians that the outside world has heard of—not as famous as the late Ali Farka Touré with his Mali blues or Toumani Diabaté with his kora, but known nonetheless, a survivor and a constant low-key presence.
In 1968, when Moussa Traoré overthrew Malian president Modibo Keita, Boubacar Traoré, widely seen as an artist associated with the previous regime, disappeared from the airwaves.
During the 1970s Traoré’s popularity faded, until a surprise television appearance in 1987. Soon after this rediscovery, Boubacar’s wife died during childbirth. Grief-stricken, he moved to France and did construction work to support his six children.
While there, a British record producer discovered a tape of one of Traoré’s radio performances, and he was finally signed to a record deal.
After years in obscurity the Malian legend once again threw himself into his music becoming more active than ever and his first album recorded in England in 1990, Mariama, traveled the world music circles.
Since then, Traoré has enjoyed international popularity, touring Europe, Africa, and North America and was featured in the book Mali Blues and was the inspiration behind the documentary, I’ll Sing For You.