30 January 2007

The Ghost of Ali Farka Toure

I am being haunted by the ghost of Ali Farka Toure. I don't know why he's chosen me, but the ethereal messages are coming through loud and clear.

You know Ali. He was a farmer turned politician in the town of Niafunke, Mali. And he had a little musical career going on the side, though he never made a big deal of that.

So, back to the haunting. It's not like Ali is a poltergeist inhabiting my TV or something. Ali is more subtle than that. He's coming through the Mali-style guitar work of Kane Mathis, in whose Saturday night performance I delighted (Kane's primary instrument is kora, but he pulled out the guitar for two pieces, the other a palmwine song).

And Ali's posthumous message is even stronger in the music of his son, Vieux Farka Toure. Vieux's self-titled debut album will be released in the USA on Feb. 13 by our friends at Modiba and World Village. The album features contributions by his father, as well as Toumani Diabate and Issa Bamba. It's reassuring to know that the future of Niafunke blues is in good hands.

Of course, it's not in the hands of Vieux alone. In fact, it could be in your hands. As part of the promotion for this album, the producers are having an open remix competition using the song "Ana." The various vocal and instrumental tracks for the song have been posted at ccMixter under a Creative Commons license, "so that producers worldwide can use the sounds in remixes and new compositions."

You can read more about the remix project, an official remix CD, and other topics in a DubMC interview with Derek Beres, the remix album's producer.

Have fun, and if you do undertake a mix, let us know and we may post some of the results here at SoundRoots.

Just heard that you folks in NYC will have a chance to get your mitts on the album a week in advance:

WHO: Vieux Farka Touré takes the desert blues torch from his world renowned, Grammy-winning father, Ali Farka Touré with his self-titled debut album, available exclusively for one week in URGE beginning February 6th before its general release on February 13th. The album features the final studio recordings of the elder Touré before his death in March 2006 and is a tribute to the legendary Malian guitarist. While drawing heavily on the same blues-inflected North African style that made his father famous, Vieux Farka Touré also incorporates new musical influences, such as reggae and rock, creating an album that strikes a gentle balance between tradition and innovation.

WHAT: The special appearance is presented by MTV Networks’ URGE digital music service as part of its ongoing “URGE Nights” series. URGE Nights is a new concert series connecting music lovers with both emerging and acclaimed artists in a variety of musical styles and settings. URGE is available for free download at http://www.urge.com.

Featuring original and exclusive music programming, first-rate editorial and innovative music-discovery features, URGE is an immersive entertainment experience for music fans to connect with their favorite artists and discover new ones. Leveraging the music programming expertise of MTV, VH1 and CMT, URGE celebrates all music, from alt-country to zydeco. URGE offers subscription and a la carte access to more than 2.4 million songs across all music genres.

WHEN: Thursday, February 8th
7:30PM & 9:30 PM

WHERE: Joe’s Pub
425 Lafayette Street

Tickets are $15
For more information fans can visit www.urge.com

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Anonymous said...

His debut is already released in Europe and we posted our review at tropicalidad.be (if you can read dutch).

Earlier, we discovered a series of impressive solo improvisations of Vieux Farka Toure posted on YouTube. Check 'm out here.

Very promising, this young Toure. Unfortunately, his tour doesn't stop in Europe :-(

Derek Beres said...

Many thanks for posting about this project. It's been a pleasure working with Vieux, his debut is amazing and the remixes we've received thus far are certain to spread the reach of his music in many directions.