Rokia Traoré sings in quietly compelling tones on Né So, an album informed by her personal experience of Mali's descent into war. "A house, habits, a future," she sings ruefully on the refugee lament "Né So" ("Home"). Like a West African Joni Mitchell, Traoré traces her relationship with Mali through good and bad times. While acoustic guitars and a two-stringed ngoni accompany her on "Kolokani," other tracks contain lilting arrangements of understated rhythmic complexity. And Traoré's take on Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" drives the horror home.