Featured

Boubacar Traoré's new album, Mali Denhou

Boubacar Traoré took his guitar and strode out into the fields outside of Bamako. There, in the country quiet, he wrote a dozen new songs in a month. “Town is too noisy. And I didn’t go to the bush, but I left my guitar here, on my farm. Because I know here, I’m on a leash,” Traoré told a recent interviewer. That leash, that connection to land and family, resulted in Mali Denhou (Lusafrica; June 14, 2011 - distributed by Harmonia Mundi). On Traoré’s first studio album in six years, the kindly, gritty voice of the veteran Malian bluesman intertwines with wonderfully idiosyncratic, cascading guitar. Wistful and pensive, Traoré exhorts, gives thanks, and reflects on love, history, and duty, with a deceptive simplicity and a deep, subtle knowledge of Mandingo tradition and West African vintage pop.  We can't wait to hear the new album.


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Interview

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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