"Any goal must have a reason / Any success is based on a reason / Any failure is based on a goal without a reason.”
These are the opening words, feverishly sung in Bambara, of the song Kenia in Rokia Traoré’s sixth album Né So (“Home”).
And the best way to encapsulate the Mali born singer’s strength throughout her nearly twenty year musical path. The decision to take up music may be guided by a career plan, or a burning urge, or an attempt to gain some recognition, or even the desire to pass on a legacy. But Rokia Traoré’s journey is of a whole different kind. Ever since she released her first record Mouneïssa, she has grown her own art and developed a real life philosophy; or a principle , in its etymological meaning: a source, a rule of conduct. This empirically based axiom guiding her actions has always been driven by the force of her will and the movements of her heart. Incidentally, the fundamental question of choices and responsibilities has always been Rokia’s centre of gravity.