The beginning of a recent NPR Weekend Edition feature on Rokia Traoré begins with sounds from Mali’s civil war, an ongoing terror that has had a significant impact on the Malian singer’s new album Né So. In the engaging audio feature, recorded at the BBC‘s studio in Berlin, veteran reporter Linda Wertheimer asks Traoré not only about her own music but about the state of African arts and culture, which the singer worries is ironically not as accessible to Africans as it is to people from elsewhere. The singer also discusses her choice to cover “Strange Fruit” on the new album, saying that the American protest song helps us “remember that we humans can be so bad, so we have to be careful with ourselves.” Listen to the whole interview, which includes plenty of musical snippets, here.
Traoré has also released a music video for the album’s haunting title track, which translates to “home” in the Bambara language. In French, she narrates a passage about the millions of international refugees who have been “forced to seek refuge in towns and countries far from home.” Watch the powerful video below: