In the Heart of the Moon

In the Heart of the Moon

5.0 1
by Ali Farka Touré
     
 

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For this kind of African super-session -- Ali Farka Touré, the blues master, meeting Toumani Diabaté, kora maestro -- In the Heart of the Moon is, at first, an almost inscrutable album. But yield to the slow, undulating rhythms, natural as the Niger’s flood, and you’ll discover a compelling dialogue that seems older than time itself. But first, a littleSee more details below

Overview

For this kind of African super-session -- Ali Farka Touré, the blues master, meeting Toumani Diabaté, kora maestro -- In the Heart of the Moon is, at first, an almost inscrutable album. But yield to the slow, undulating rhythms, natural as the Niger’s flood, and you’ll discover a compelling dialogue that seems older than time itself. But first, a little background, thanks to the helpful notes by all the principals and British music writer Lucy Durán. Much of the material here was born in the Mali of the 1950s, in the ferment that led up to independence in 1960, and represents the foundation of Malian pop music: guitar driven, indebted to griot tradition, buoyant, but a bit pensive. It was the music of Farka’s youth, and that of Diabaté’s esteemed father, Sidiki Diabaté. The songs provide a fertile meeting ground for the pair to explore their differences and commonalities. Touré, older, hails from the arid north, of the Songrai and Peul people. Diabaté, young enough to be Touré's son, is a Mandé from the south, and a griot, a member of the musicians' caste. His repertoire encompasses thousands of years of praise music and extemporaneous salutes (one of them here, “Monsieur Le Maire de Niafunké,” celebrates Touré’s becoming mayor of his village) -- so this half-century-old pop is “new” for him. The guitarist, meanwhile, has rarely assayed these songs on record. And yet, the music is nearly completely extemporaneous, the unrehearsed product of master musicians jamming on repertoire that each knows by heart. After describing the hypnotic effect of this intimate recording in the liner notes, producer Nick Gold saw fit to overdub Ry Cooder on a distracting electric piano that sounds more like a steel drum. It’s the only false note in an album that wears its truth on its long, billowing sleeves.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
In the Heart of the Moon is a duet recording by Malian guitar slinger Ali Farka Toure and Mandé lineage griot Toumani Diabate on kora. There are a few other players who contribute percussion here and there, and Ry Cooder plays a Kawai piano on a couple of tracks and a Ripley guitar on one, but other than these cats, this is a live duo set without edits or enhancements of any kind. There were three sessions in the conference room of the Mande Hotel in Mali, the first of which was on the eve of Farka Toure being elected mayor of his town, Niafunké. Most of the music here dates back to the Jurana Kura (translated as new era) cultural movement, which was part of the independence struggle in the 1950s and early '60s. The music created by the Jurana Kura for the guitar created a entirely new style of rhythmic fingerpicking. For those familiar with Farka Toure's blazing lead style, this disc may come as a shock. While he does solo many times here, he is also playing in balance with Diabate, whose kora has the larger lyric and harmonic palette, so he is in a supporting role. It doesn't matter. Whether the song is "Kaira" (written and performed by Diabate's father in the '50s and the earliest recorded track on the album, from before the Mande sessions), "Ai Ga Bani (I Love You)" and "Soumbou Ya Ya" (both written for young people during the Jurana Kura), or one of Farka Toure's originals near the end of the set, such as "Gomni," the style is the same. Everything echoes this earlier era because it has informed all Malian and Guinean music since. The purpose was to make people aware not only of its existence but to inspire and exhort. The music is insistent but not strident. It contains a gentleness and tenderness that seem to drip from the region, one of the poorest in the world. The players' focus and intensity are captured, but they make it all come off so easily that the listener gets lost in the pleasure of these gorgeous melodies and the call-and-response style of interaction between the players. Simply put, In the Heart of the Moon is nothing short of remarkable, and one of the best offerings World Circuit/Nonesuch have ever released.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/13/2005
Label:
Nonesuch
UPC:
0075597992021
catalogNumber:
79920
Rank:
6227

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ali Farka Touré   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Ry Cooder   Guitar,Piano,Kawai
Joachim Cooder   Percussion
Orlando "Cachaito" Lopez   Bass
Toumani Diabaté   Kora
James Thompson   Shaker
Lekan Babalola   Percussion
Sekou Kanté   Bass Guitar

Technical Credits

Ali Farka Touré   Arranger,Composer,Liner Notes
Jerry Boys   Engineer,Mastering
Lucy Duran   Liner Notes
Nick Gold   Producer,Liner Notes,Audio Production
Toumani Diabaté   Arranger,Composer,Liner Notes
Tom Leader   Mastering
Traditional   Composer

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