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February 13, 2018

Gregory Porter, Morcheeba, Rokia Traoré...


Along with the production of the Jazz à Vienne visuals, the Angoulême International Comics Festival and Jazz à Vienne will be holding a creative illustrated concert each year combining music and comic strips. A cartoonist and a musician are brought together and compose a hybrid piece of artwork live on stage. For the next edition of the Angoulême International Comics Festival from 26 to 29 January 2018 and the Jazz à Vienne festival from 28 June to 13 July 2018, the illustrated concert will feature Rokia Traoré and cartoonist Rubén Pellejero.

Rokia Traoré was born in Kati in the suburb of Bamako in Mali. She is a Malian singer, writer, composer, performer and guitarist. She has made six albums, released between 1998 and 2016. In 2009, her original style won her a Victoire de la Musique award in the World Music category. Extremely active in her country, the author of Né So (‘Home’ in the Bambara language) was directly inspired by the experience and the conflict which has affected Mali since 2012. Rokia Traoré is also the founder and president of the Passerelle Foundation in Bamako which helps young musical and artistic creation in Mali, where she lives.

Rubén Pellejero was born near Barcelona in 1952 and started his career as an illustrator in 1970 before turning to cartoons in 1982. His stylish, realistic drawings seem inspired by both Italian comic strips and by Jean Giraud’s black and white work. With the scriptwriter Jorge Zentner, he produced ‘Mr Griffaton’s Memories’ and ‘FM’, two albums published in French by Magic Strip. In 1996, Pellejero published ‘The Silence of Malka’, which won the Alph’Art award for Best Foreign Album in Angoulême the following year. He also published ‘The Summer of Irreverance’ (with Denis Lapière) and ‘Rain Wolf’ (with Jean Dufaux), before recently continuing the Corto Maltese series alongside Juan Diaz Canales.

The illustrated concert by Rokia Traoré and Rubén Pellejero is going to be held on 5 July 2018, tickets available early February 2018 at


Totally unknown to the general public just eight years ago, the singer Gregory Porter soon conquered the US, then Europe, from autumn 2010 with “1960 What?”, an anti-establishment song lasting over nine minutes. The album “Water” (2010) set Gregory Porter and his baritone voice on a virtual throne between Nat King Cole and Donny Hathaway. With “Liquid Spirit” (2013) and his composition “When Love Was King”, he gained irresistible public esteem. At the age of 46 (Nat King Cole’s age at his death in 1965), the Californian, now living in Brooklyn, is just as much at home with the vocalese style, gospel, the smooth blues of Jimmy Witherspoon and the velvet warmth of his childhood hero, Nat King Cole, the subject of his fifth album. With “Nat King Cole & Me” (2017), he beautifully revisits the crooner’s hits (“Nature Boy”, “Mona Lisa”), but the song he cherishes the most is perhaps “Pick Yourself Up”. The song is a summary of the influence that Nat Cole had on an anxious child named Gregory. “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start over again,” as it says in the chorus. “When I was recording it, I could feel the presence of my mother, and also the fact I have always been looking for my father”, the gentle giant explained at the time. Now he is back in Vienne with the ONL, conducted by Vince Mendoza, whose arrangements give the album breathtaking scope.


In 2016, the Malian singer released “Né So”, her sixth socially committed album. Rokia Traoré is a nomadic artist who spends her time between Brussels, Bamako, where she grew up (she was born in 1974 in the suburbs of the capital) and the US, where she regularly works. Rokia Traoré is one of those African artists that has embraced modernity and all the genres. Peter Sellars asked her to take part in the creation of “Desdemona” (2010). She was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015, and the trumpet player Erik Truffaz invited her to perform on his album “Doni Doni” (2016). In Bamako, she has set up a foundation to promote music and the performing arts. Produced, like the previous album, by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels), “Né So” is a politically committed record, woven with rock atmospheres and Mandinka melodies written after the tragic events of 2012 in Mali. But Rokia steers clear of pathos. In fact, this is what characterises her style: restraint and a sense of distance. With her zesty voice, alongside her backing singers and guests including Devendra Banhart and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), she sings in French, Bambara and also English, on Billie Holiday’s legendary “Strange Fruit”.