Rokia Traoré's sixth album, Né So (Home), will be released by Nonesuch Records on February 12, 2016. The album was produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Tracy Chapman), who also produced her 2013 record, Beautiful Africa. The album features 10 original songs and a cover of Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit."
Traoré had always been a traveler, but in 2009, she decided to move back to Mali. Three years later, she bore witness as her country's civil war gained terrible momentum. "Experiencing life in a war-torn country was traumatic. I became aware of how naïve I had been," she confesses.
She had left Bamako for a while and moved to Europe with her young son while simultaneously experiencing personal difficulties. "Everything was falling apart," she says. "It's never easy to go through tough times, but it is also what makes you grow, and understand why you cling to certain things and give up on some others."
Traoré started by writing and composing the songs alone. She then rehearsed in Bamako and recorded in Brussels and Bristol with musicians from the entire West African region. "I didn't want an all-Malian band. I need variety; I need a mix of cultures around me," she said. "You could say that Mali is where my roots are-it is where I take refuge in times of doubt, and where I accept risks when I must. Bamako was the place where I felt I would be both free and supported."