Vieux Farka Touré


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With Live, Vieux Farka Toure makes a great leap toward becoming the first African electric guitar player to be a Western rock star. Make no mistake: for all the African modes and percussion, this is an out and out rock & roll album, and an absolute corker of a live disc. Far from being retiring, Toure uses this as a real guitarfest, a chance to showcase his deliciously fluid style. What sets him apart, besides his massive technical ability, is the fluidity and imagination of his playing. He might have shared the bill with several rock bands on his quick rise to fame, but it's his African roots that add a special zing to what he does, marking him out as a true original. He also plays well with others. When Jeff Lang joins on slide for "Walaidu" the two seem to fit perfectly together, as if they'd spent years on the same stage. With a crack band behind him, Toure tears it up as often as he can. This is light on the singing that features on his studio albums, but it highlights what's rapidly become his defining quality, his guitar virtuosity. He can hold his own with any of the guitar greats, from any era. No longer is he just his father's son. It's not a case of a star being born, but of striding out and loudly announcing his arrival.

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