Ode to the South African singer Miriam Makeba

Once Upon a Time, an Iron Rose...

Rokia Traoré

‘The first international star of African music was a woman – that’s important, but people don’t talk about her much.’ The world-famous Malinese singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré has taken it upon herself to change that. Once Upon a Time, an Iron Rose... is all about her big inspiration, ‘Mama Africa’ Miriam Makeba (1932-2008). Makeba actively fought against apartheid. Also she was the first African woman to win a Grammy and her song Pata Pata made her into a global star. In 1990, at Nelson Mandela’s request, she returned to her native country after thirty years of exile. With vocals, historical images and more, the versatile Traoré, who previously featured at the festival in Peter Sellars’ Desdemona, pays a deeply personal tribute to the legendary South African singer.


concept, mise en scène
Rokia Traoré
Maylis de Kérangal, Rokia Traoré
artistic advice
Neo Muyanga
Olga Papon
Ralf Nonn
Germain Fourvel
Massimo Cugini