Boubacar Traoré was born in 1942, in the Kayes region of Mali. A self taught musician, he began to compose music at an early age, influenced by American blues and kassonké, a traditional music style from the Kayes region. In the early 1960s, Mali won its independence and the people of Mali awoke each morning to the sound of Kar Kar’s (his nickname) melancholic voice on the radio which sang of independence. He is widely known amidst his generation in Mali for his hits “Kar Kar Madison”, “Mali Twist” and “Kayes Ba,” in which he encouraged his fellow citizens to return and build the country.
A native of the Comoros Islands, in the Indian Ocean off the eastern Coast of Africa, Nawal’s music weaves a rich dialogue of cultures. She sings in Comoran, Arabic, French and English, and showcases the musical traditions of the Indo-Arabian-Persian Bantu poly-phonies, and the syncopated rhythms and Sufi trance of the Indian Ocean. As a Muslim-born African woman who does not always adhere to traditional socio-religious codes, Nawal has faced many challenges in her career, yet she remains strong in her message and philosophy. Descending from the grand Sufi marabout of Comoros, El-Maarouf (1852-1904), Nawal invariably stays with the light of Islam founded upon love, respect and peace. In her music, she sings in favor of all humans, for education and for union.