Rokia Kone and Jacknife Lee – Kurunba

This track is… fascinating. Four on the floor, percussion, and call and response vocals that command you to sing along. All based around a tribal dance beat that makes you want to… 


Quite frankly… 


I love it, it’s not your run of the mill dance track, and it doesn’t try to be, but in the current trend of amapiano emerging out of South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana this shows you where the progression is going.

This song is the perfect vehicle for when gigs are played again to full capacity, and it sounds like a great festival opener I wonder what my friends Cable Street Collective would think of this?

You could tell that if it was being played at a party it would turn the place upside down, it’s just one of those tunes you could just really groove to…

The lyrics speak of the struggles that women face later in life after they have raised their husband’s children in some cases they are shut away from society.

This is a story of a particular woman who was freed from captivity,” explains Rokia. “And on the day of her daughter’s wedding she sang this song, and the same people who had tried to lock her up were transformed into dogs and flies. It’s like a curse.”

Koné’s musical journey began as a young child in the courtyard of her home in Dioro near Ségou, the cradle of the great Bamana Empire. “I would mostly sing my grandmother’s songs,” she says. “My uncles and aunts on both sides of my family were also singers. I was always surrounded by music.”

The young Rokia headed to Bamako, becoming a backing singer for Alia Coulibaly, one of Mali’s biggest stars, then quickly earned top billing as a solo artist in her own right. In 2016 she caught the attention of Valérie Malot, founder of renowned French booking agency 3D Family, who invited her to join feminist supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique and make her debut on an international stage.

In 2022, Rokia releases her debut album BAMANAN, a collaboration with Irish-born, California-based rock producer Jacknife Lee (U2, R.E.M, Snow Patrol, The Killers).

Listen to Kurunba HERE NOW

Words by DEL OWUSU