Review: Vieux Farka Toure – Mon Pays

Posted on: Saturday, Nov 30, 2013

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Vieux Farka Toure – Mon Pays

(Six Degrees)

The late singer and guitarist Ali Farka Touré was a big John Lee Hooker fan and blended the ‘Boogie Man’s’ style with the traditional music of his own country, Mali, in West Africa – which has ancestral ties with the blues, though Ali’s music was certainly not “the roots of the blues”. Since Ali’s death in 2006, his son Vieux Farka Touré has taken up the baton, and for this set, as the French title implies, he pays tribute to the music of his homeland in the face of the recent political turmoil it has faced.

There is plenty of Hookeresque guitar work – try ‘Yer Gando’ which deals with the extremists’ ban on music and the return of slavery, for a good example, or ‘Safare’, one of his father’s numbers, which has fine call and response vocals. There is some spikey one-string fiddle playing reminiscent of Louisiana’s Butch Cage from time to time (though don’t attach any great significance to that statement), droning, almost Hill Country styled rhythms as on ‘Allah Wawi’, and, in a nice generational shift, a couple of instrumentals with kora player, Sidike Diabate, son of Toumani, who recorded two albums with Vieux’s father.

In short, this release is an excellent example of the West African “desert-blues” sound.

NORMAN DARWEN

www.vieuxfarkatoure.com

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