Ali Farka Touré


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Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure's music has always managed global travel with ease and musical grace, shrinking the miles between Western Africa and the Mississippi Delta and seemingly visiting every city in between. Toure has received his share of accolades for blurring the lines between his contemporary/traditional fingerpicking style and "country blues." Toure has routinely collaborated with musicians from other cultures and musical genres, most notably the prolific and internationally influenced Ry Cooder on their widely acclaimed 1994 album Talking Timbuktu. He establishes a firm aesthetic residence on Niafunké, his first and most welcome CD in five years. Niafunké was recorded using a state-of-the-art portable studio in Toure's home village of Niafunke, which clearly lends a decisive authentic flavor and sense of musical place to the disc. Each tune is a lithe and resonant labyrinth of call-and-response patterns: a fingerpicked guitar speaks to a one-stringed njarka fiddle, calabash pummelings weave into those of the conga drums, and a lively small chorus answers Toure's authoritative lead vocals. A couple of the best cuts include "Ali's Here" and "Saukare." A beautifully rendered and intoxicating record.

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