Tchamantche (lp) / Rokia Traore
"Tchamantché", which means "point of balance" in Bambara, is the fourth album by Malian singer Rokia Traoré. Released in 2008 and dedicated to her compatriot Ali Farka Touré, one of the African continent's most internationally renowned musicians, the album marks a turning point in the singer's career, after she spent much of her time shedding new light on Malian musical tradition. "Tchamantché" reveals a unique sound, blending electric Gretsch guitar riffs with the ancient sounds of Malian instruments, giving a new framework to her crystal clear voice. Though Traoré favors minimalist and soulful acoustic ballads, her blues and even rock influences are clearly evident, drawing an intimate and lush album of artistic maturity.