Music News

Vieux Farka Touré

The son of the recently departed Malian singer and guitarist Ali Farka Touré continues his father's legacy with style and grace. Thankfully, he is also able to live up to his famous surname when it comes to Malian blues. Almost predictably, Vieux's self-titled debut album is drenched in musical influences that only a legendary father such as Touré could impart to his son, but that's a good thing. And it's no surprise that Ali himself lends a hand here (the album was recorded prior to his passing), playing lead on "Diallo," a song whose lyrics speak of a member of the true Fulani people and one who does not live like the country's rich "who does not have a fat stomach/who does not eat alone in public." The beat on "Diallo" creates space for the senior Touré to improvise between the lyrics. "Courage" is one of the highlights of the album, as singer Issa Sory Bamba lends her melodic vocals. The song is laden with heavy, funky-ass bass and rock-inflected arrangements that could easily fit into the alt-rock medium if it weren't for the language barrier (all the lyrics are in Mali's native tongue). Listen also to "Diabaté," a haunting but simply executed instrumental duo that features Toumani Diabaté (kora) and Vieux providing acoustic guitar backing. For lovers of real West African music, this album is a must. If nothing else, it's a living testament that Malian blues did not go to the grave with the elder Touré, as many music critics around the world predicted.

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Ernest Barteldes