Album: Rokia Traoré, Beautiful Africa (Nonesuch)

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The Independent Culture

The exciting thing about this Malian singer-songwriter is that she's always moving on.

Tchamantché, from 2008, was a measured, controlled affair all about muted strings, empty spaces and exquisite detail.

But having PJ Harvey's producer John Parish on board seems to have encouraged a new intensity and an opening up. In fact, there's even some distorted lead guitar here and there. In other words, Rokia rocks, and it's a fine and bracing thing to hear.