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Vieux Farka Touré

Vieux Farka Touré

by Vieux Farka Touré
While he was alive, Ali Farka Touré's protégé was the guitarist Afel Bocoum, who had worked with the Malian bluesman for over 30 years. Suddenly, however, Ali seems to have a new heir. His son Vieux, long discouraged from the musician's life by his father, evidently surprised the old man late in life with


While he was alive, Ali Farka Touré's protégé was the guitarist Afel Bocoum, who had worked with the Malian bluesman for over 30 years. Suddenly, however, Ali seems to have a new heir. His son Vieux, long discouraged from the musician's life by his father, evidently surprised the old man late in life with his considerable talents and engaging demeanor. The elder Touré gave his blessing to this recording shortly before his death in 2006 (he appears on two tracks, as does his good friend, the kora virtuoso Toumani Diabaté). It's a confident and varied debut, at once strikingly similar and wholly different from his father's work. Of course, Vieux's guitar style is heavily indebted to that of his trailblazing father and the arid desert blues of his home on the sandy rim of the Sahara. But then there are influences that never seemed to adhere to Ali Farka, who always considered himself a farmer before an international star, and whose intransigence and inscrutability were legendary. Like another son of a famous African music star, Femi Kuti, Vieux Farka Touré shaves off the most astringent aspects of his father's music at the same time as he brings it into the present and future. His fleet-fingered runs betray familiarity with smooth-jazz pickers, and his band embraces a swing that occasionally achieves liftoff where other Malian groups ply merely hypnotic motifs. Nods to reggae ("Ana") and more rock-inflected styles also set the 25-year-old Vieux apart from his dad's sound. That said, some of the most exhilarating tracks here include his crackling duet with his father, "Diallo" that blazes over seven minutes before fading out, in classic Ali style. Fans of Malian guitar music have nothing to fear -- the torch has been passed.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
Many sons and daughters of musicians have attempted to follow in the footsteps of a renowned parent, but the percentage who have succeeded in finding their own way, not just carrying the torch but lighting it anew, is a small one indeed. Vieux Farka Touré's father was the late Ali Farka Touré, one of the uncontested trailblazers of African music, and Vieux's debut album was released less than a year after the 2006 passing of his father, which could lead one to suspect a cashing in on the name and reputation of the man often credited with drawing the line between traditional Malian guitar music and American blues. But Vieux Farka Touré's album is such a triumph in every way that the question isn't whether he will carry on the legacy, but rather just how much further he will take it. And for years there existed the possibility that this music wouldn't even happen. Ali, it seems, didn't want his son to become a musician, and actually forbid him to become one. He didn't want Vieux to have to endure the hardships that he had experienced in the music industry. But nature took its course, and Vieux first became a drummer before discovering that his true calling lay in the very same instrument -- Vieux plays both electric and acoustic guitar -- that had brought his father international recognition. At the urging of Toumani Diabaté, the great Malian kora player, Ali was urged to reconsider and ultimately gave his son his blessing. Both Diabaté and Touré, Sr. appear on the album, adding their wisdom and experience, building a bridge that Vieux so ably crosses. Vieux's guitar style is, to be honest, reminiscent of Ali's -- that's to be expected: the son grew up hearing Ali Farka Touré music every day and absorbed it into his blood. But Vieux's exceptional musicianship hints at more -- he's already a masterful player in his own right and he has his ear cocked toward the future, not only the past. He is at once sensitive and soulful but can easily turn it around and unleash a fleet-fingered solo that is so spellbinding you'll find yourself thinking, blasphemous though it may be, that his dad could never do that. Vieux's music is as distinctively Malian as Ali's, but it also lurches forward, easily traversing the worlds of reggae, funk, rock, and R&B, as well as naturally incorporating those bluesy tones that, in the hands of Ali, caused so many to make connections they had never made before. Vieux is also a talented songwriter with plenty to say -- his compositions are grand and lush melodically and positive and spiritual lyrically, as well as sometimes humorous (translations are provided). He is also a more than passable singer. Produced by Eric Herman and engineered and mixed by Dave Ahl, Vieux Farka Touré is also a pristinely recorded work, crisp and direct, with everything up front and undiluted. As far as debut albums go, this one is nearly perfect.

Product Details

Release Date:
World Village Usa


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Vieux Farka Touré   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals,Calabash,Scraper
Ali Farka Touré   Guitar
Dave Ahl   Organ,Glockenspiel,Clavinet
Toumani Diabaté   Kora
Amada Diarra   Djembe
Yves Wernert   Hand Clapping
Matt Hilgenberg   Trumpet
Eric Herman   Glockenspiel,Bass Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals,Hand Clapping,Shaker
Tim Keiper   Drums,Tambourine,Triangle,Shaker
Ibrahim Coulibaly   Hand Clapping
Mamadou Fofana   Flute,Bass Guitar

Technical Credits

Ali Farka Touré   Arranger
Sidiki Diabaté   Composer
Dave Ahl   Arranger,Engineer,Horn Arrangements
Toumani Diabaté   Arranger
Yves Wernert   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Eric Herman   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Executive Producer,Horn Arrangements
Mahamadou Koné   Tama
Vieux Farka Touré   Arranger,Composer
Issa Bamba   Composer

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