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.
Performance CreditsAli 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 CreditsAli Farka Touré Arranger,Composer,Liner Notes
Jerry Boys Engineer
Lucy Duran Liner Notes
Nick Gold Producer,Liner Notes,Audio Production
Toumani Diabaté Arranger,Composer,Liner Notes
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
this cd has been in my 5-cd turntable for 4 months now....it is so wonderful and relaxing that I cannot bear to take it off. intriguing and beautiful.