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Lobi Traoré

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Biography

Like his friend and sometimes associate Ali Farka Touré, Lobi Traoré was an excellent guitarist, a warm singer, and a revered player of Mali-flavored blues. Born in 1961 in the Malian village of Bakaridiana, Traoré was the son of two singers. At 16 he traveled to the city of Ségou, where at the age of 19 he discovered Zani Diabate & the Super Djata Band playing Bambara repertoire. It influenced Traoré to start playing his own music in the Bambara language. He started at weddings and then bars, most notably the Bozo. By the time Traoré was regularly playing the Bozo, his music had evolved into a mature blues sound. The local audience grew into a regional one and finally an international one with the 1995 release of Bamako, an album named after the Bozo's home city and released by the Buda Musique label with Touré as producer. Segou followed in 1996 with Duga arriving in 1998, both being supported by worldwide touring. The World Village label collected tracks from each album on the 2005 release Mali Blue. That same year, Lobi Traoré Group appeared on Honest Jon's, the label owned in part by Blur's Damon Albarn. In 2006 Traoré teamed up with Dutch singer/guitarist Joep Pelt to record the duo album I Yougoba, which was released during the summer of the following year. Traoré and Pelt subsequently made several Dutch festival appearances, and in 2008 embarked with their band on a U.S. tour that included South by Southwest in Austin, TX. I Yougoba was re-released by the Dutch Excelsior label in 2009. On June 1, 2010 Lobi Traoré died suddenly and unexpectedly of apparent heart failure in Bamako, Mali at the age of 49, survived by his wife and four children. ~ David Jeffries
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