Boubacar Traoré carries within him all the beauty of African blues. A diamond among the jewels of Mandingo music, he shines with the dark glow of exceptional purity. Only the voice of "Kar Kar" (a footballing nickname meaning “The Dribbler” given him by his friends, who also love the beautiful game) can blend Niger and Mississippi river alluvia with such moving authenticity. His unique, inimitable, self-taught guitar technique owes a great deal to his kora influences, but its shades and phrasing also suggest the great black bluesmen of the deep South: Blind Willie McTell, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and others.
Boubacar Traoré is respected and acclaimed in Mali, especially by young people. They are rediscovering the artist, one of the founding fathers and great ambassadors of modern Mandingo music. When his international tours end, Kar Kar returns to the piece of land he has bought on a hill in Bamako. There, he raises sheep and works a vegetable plot, his pride and joy. “In Mali, everyone is a farmer. It’s the most reliable way of making a living.”
On his new album, “Dounia Tabolo”, Boubacar Traoré has decided to bring in musicians from the Southern States of the USA he had met on tour: Cedric Watson on violin and washboard, and Corey Harris on guitar, together with Leyla McCalla on cello and vocals. His intention was to change the coloration of his songs, while conserving their original character.
From blues to folk, Cajun to Zydeco music, his new traveling companions have provided a touch of folly and swing, blues depth and discreet elegance, in a repertoire of old (Dounia Tabolo, Kanou,…) and new numbers (Ben de Kadi, Mousso,..).
More than ever, Boubacar Traoré is showing himself to be the living, vital connection between Mali and the Mississippi.