Rokia Traoré, Guest Director of Brighton Festival 2019, is a musician of incredible stylistic range and depth, but she is at her core Malian. It is a mark of her engagement with her role at Brighton Festival that she has chosen to open the programme with Né So (the word for home in her native Bambara), a highly energised and personal work. In it, she explores home as a place of rootedness from which her creative curiosity can take flight, a place of collaboration through like minded musicians, and a place of reunion of artists she admires across West Africa and further afield.
Encircling these meanings, however, is a larger question of musical truthfulness as a female, an African artist and a mother: what it means to belong and stand apart, to start again and move forward but mainly to endure in times of war, exile and crisis, and to find connection and expressive freedom through it all. Traoré balances the Malian with the international, the personal with the universal, in this unmissable exploration of home.