BOUBACAR TRAORE voice, guitar
BABAH KONE calabash

Popularly and affectionately known as Kar Kar, Boubacar Traoré is Mali’s legendary blues guitarist. He grew up in the 1940s in Kayes, part of the Bambara region of Mali. His musical influences at that time were kassonke, a local traditional style, and American blues. A universally respected musician, Boubacar Traoré is one of the last great performers to have begun his career in the early days of Malian independence. At the time of Mali’s independence in the 1960s, Kar Kar’s music was always on the radio first thing in the morning so he became a national figure. His blues-flavored folk, unique, emotion-filled timbre and inimitable guitar style, and the poetry that pervades his songs, have all matured over the years. Now in his seventies, Boubacar Traoré has successfully preserved and enriched all the key elements of his individual style and musical culture: great elegance, delightful simplicity and the serenity and soberness that are the hallmarks of a great artist. “Mbalimaou” is Boubacar Traoré’s latest album, recorded at the Bogolan studios in Bamako where he lives and released in February 2015. “Mbalimaou” is full of the gentle swing, poetry and grace.