Singer, songwriter and guitarist Boubacar Traoré, known as Kar Kar for his football dribbling skills in his youth, is considered to be one of the pioneers of Malian Mandé blues. His guitar sounds both reflect the influence of the kora, a West African stringed instrument, and evoke the blues of the southern United States. A self-taught musician, Traoré found his unique sound by tuning his guitar in line with the tonality of the kora.
In the early 1960s, his rock ’n’ roll and dance sounds were regularly played on Mali National Radio, but due to changes in the political system, his music fell out of favour. After stints as a farmer and shopkeeper in his hometown of Kayes and as a migrant worker in Paris, he was ‘discovered’ in Paris by an English producer, who had him record his first album, Mariama (1990). Since that time, he has explored and refined his interpretations of the blues, Arabic music and the West African pentatonic structures of the Mandé region, creating sounds that appeal to all generations.
In addition to Mariama, he has released a number of key albums, including Kar Kar (1992), Les Enfants de Pierrette (1995), Sa Golo (1996), Micaré (2000), Je chanterai pour toi (2003), The Best of Boubacar Traoré: The Bluesman from Mali (2003), Kongo Magni (2005), Mali Denhou (2011), Mbalimaou (2014) and Dounia Tabalo (2017).
Traoré has performed at music festivals and concert halls such as Musiques Métisses, Angoulême, France; Roskilde Festival, Denmark; Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; El Internacional, Zurich; and Festival du Bout du Monde, Crozon, France.
Born in 1942 in Kayes, Mali, he lives and works in Bamako, Mali.
SB15 Music Programme (2023)