I tried so very hard to stretch myself in as many ways as possible when it came to different kinds of music this year and Beautiful Africa was one of my more serious breechings of my normal listening habits. First off, Rokia Traoré sings most of her songs in French and Bambara (with a little English sprinkled in). Any time I listen to non-English speaking artists, I am outside my comfort zone simply because most artists I listen to are English speaking. So it was revitalizing to hear a different cultures language involved in music.
Asides from that though the album is musically a lot different than most popular music today. With influences from salsa to Latin to jazz to reggae to a whole mixture of all of them, her music is jovial and light, played mostly on guitar with a smattering of bass and a whole lot of Latin influenced drum playing. The songs all flow like an easy flowing stream; never too fast or too slow. It is a great listen and not only that but easy to get into. The language barrier is really non-existent because the music is so exciting so even not being able to understand what is being said, the music alone is worth listening to. Mostly I was just proud of myself for trying something like this, but in the end, the music was interesting and pleasant worth every minute.