Rokia Koné on the challenges facing Mali’s youth

Les Amazones d'Afrique vocalist Rokia Koné talks about the challenges facing the youth of Mali, and the importance of music in the face of extremism in an interview and live acoustic session recorded by not-for-profit organisation Instruments 4 Africa.

Rokia talks about the problems faced by the youth of Mali, particularly unemployment. She appeals to people who are in prominent positions to not forget about those at the bottom of society, and councils the youth to never give up hope saying as long as you are alive anything is possible.

Rokia Koné is interviewed for 'It Must Make Peace', a film project

The interview was filmed at Radio Libré, a nightclub owned by reggae artist and human rights activist Tiken Jah Fakoly. Rokia also performs interpretations of two traditional Bambara songs: ‘Maya’ and ‘Diarabi Magni’. She is accompanied by Salif Koné on guitar and Alou Coulibaly on calabash.

The short film piece was recorded as part of a wider project, It Must Make Peace, an award-winning documentary film featuring Malian artists such as Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté and Afel Bocoum.

It Must Make Peace spans 3 years of filming in remote and often insecure locations all across Mali, West Africa, documenting performances and interviews with people who could be amongst the last to play their unique instruments or perform their traditional cultural arts. The film captures their profound passion for their traditions and the important role these play in bringing diverse peoples together, while they strive for unity and peace amidst a backdrop of increasing economic and political insecurity, religious extremism and globalization.

The film was directed and produced by Paul Chandler and Instruments 4 Africa (I4A), a not-for-profit organization formed to reinforce traditional music and the arts in Africa.  Committed to cultural preservation, I4A supports artists to keep their practice alive so they can continue to empower their communities. Check out the organisation’s YouTube channel, which features some fantastic musical performances, like this improv with Malian rap artist Iba One & Sidiki Diabaté:

Iba One & Sidiki Diabaté - Malian Rap Improv. with Kora, Calabash, & Vocals

Rokia Koné is one of Mali’s most popular and influential artists. She starting singing at an early age in gritty, local Bamako bars called maquis, and today enjoys a wide cult following. She has recently starting touring outside of Mali with Les Amazones d’Afrique, a West African feminist musical collective which features contributions from Angélique Kidjo and Mariam Doumbia (Amadou & Mariam).

Featured Release

  • République Amazone

    Les Amazones d’Afrique

    Released 10 March 2017

    Les Amazones d'Afrique are an all-female collective of west African musicians campaigning for gender equality. They have been described as a supergroup, and the characterisation seems apt. Angélique Kidjo, Kandia Kouyaté, Mamani Keita, Mariam Doumbia, Mariam Koné, Massan Coulibaly, Mouneissa Tandina, Nneka, Pamela Badjogo and Rokia Koné hold a strong pedigree.

By Online Editor

Main image credit: Paul Chandler / I4A.

Published on Sat, 16 June 18

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