Traore’s Finely Drawn Musical Map

Boubacar Traore - Mali Denhou
Boubacar Traore

Mali Denhou (Lusafrica, 2011)

There must be something in the air of Mali in order to produce such extraordinary talents like Ali Farka Toure, Baba Sissoko, Issa Bagayogo, Tinariwen and Toumani Diabate and all the other Diabates. One name surely stands out as one of Mali’s soulful blues men and that is Boubacar Traore. With recordings like Mariama, Les Enfants de Pirrette, Macire and Kongo Magni under his belt, Mr. Traore now after six years adds Mali Denhou to his resume. Composing and writing most of songs on Mali Denhou, Mr. Traore proves once again that Mail has many more songs yet discovered.

Whipping out a sound fusing traditional music and blues, Mali Denhou is fresh and delightful. From open landscape sound of opening track “M’Badehou” through to sweetly quaint “Dundobesse M’Bedouniato to the bluesy guitar flash of “Minuit” to the expertly worked “Mali Tchebaou,” Mali Denhou soars, rolls, undulates, spins and weaves a stunning spell ground out by Mr. Traore’s guitar brilliance and rough road vocals. It’s difficult not to just drift mindlessly letting Mr. Traore take over with his hypnotic blend of African blues. Sumptuously ripe with balafon, calabash, brassy harmonica and delicate n’goni lines against Mr. Traore’s guitar proves an irresistible combination on this breezy recording.

Mr. Traore is certainly one of Mali’s musical master craftsmen and there could be no better proof than Mali Denhou. Rich and resplendent Mali Denhou is brimming over with Mr. Traore’s finely drawn musical map just waiting to take you for a ride.

Recordings available:

  • In North America: Mali Denhou,
  • In Europe: Mali Denhou,

Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.


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