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Ali Farka Toure

One of the most internationally successful West African musicians of the '90s, Ali Farka Touré was described as "the African John Lee Hooker" so many times that it probably began to grate on both Touré's and Hooker's nerves. There is a lot of truth to the comparison, however, and it isn't exactly an insult. The guitarist, who also played other instruments such as calabash and bongos, shared with Hooker (and similar American bluesmen like Lightnin' Hopkins) a predilection for low-pitched vocals and midtempo, foot-stomping rhythms, often playing with minimal accompaniment.

Touré's delivery was less abrasive than Hooker's, and the general tone of his material somewhat sweeter. Widespread success on the order of Hooker was somewhat elusive, though, as Touré sang in several languages, and only occasionally in English. As he once told Option, his are songs "about education, work, love, and society." If he and Hooker sounded quite similar, it's probably not by conscious design, but due to the fact that both drew inspiration from African rhythmic and musical traditions that extend back many generations.

Touré was approaching the age of 50 when he came to the attention of the burgeoning world music community in the West via a self-titled album in the late '80s. In the following years he toured often in North America and Europe, and recorded frequently, sometimes with contributions from Taj Mahal and members of the Chieftains. In 1990, Touré retreated from music entirely to devote himself to his rice farm, but was convinced by his producer to again pick up the guitar to record 1994's Talking Timbuktu, on which he was joined by Ry Cooder. It was his most well-received effort to date, earning him a Grammy for Best World Music Album, but it was also proof that not all Third World-First World collaborations have to dilute their non-Western elements to achieve wide acceptance. However, Touré found success draining and again retreated to tend his farm.

He didn't release a record on American shores for five more years; he finally broke the silence in 1999 with Niafunké, which discarded the collaborative approach in favor of a return to his musical roots. Then, once again, Touré stepped away from the limelight. In 2005, perhaps partly to keep his name familiar to music lovers, Nonesuch issued (for the first time on compact disc) Red & Green, two albums Touré recorded in the early '80s, packaged together as a two-disc set. In the Heart of the Moon was also released in 2005. Touré died on March 7, 2006, from the bone cancer that he had been battling for years; however, he was able to complete one last album before passing. His final album, Savane, was released posthumously in July 2006. It was later discovered that he had completed impromptu sessions a year before his death alongside Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté in London. The results of these sessions were released in the simply titled 2010 record Ali & Toumani. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Comments

There is no one who can touch what Mr. Toure did. His voice is beautiful too.
OH, YESSSSSSSS!! ! ! ! :-D :-D :-D
Emmmm Uhhhh baabama!
Can ya say! get down!
funmitof
Beautiful... I dream of home.
burkify
I prefer Toure over Hooker any day of the week. His music is amazing.
isoyoye
incredible music!
gpaule739
Amen so beautiful Amen
Mali
Bio doesn't say what country he was from...
loooove this track
pure musicianship genius!
onditquoi99
May Ali's Farka Toure's soul and spirit rest in perfect peace. He has left behind something of himself to be remembered several generations to come!
check out http://www.t e s h a m o . c o m has a lot of on demand music of this etc
thanks stormy for that infro. i will be sending an email. you can catch a great deal of africa and world music on YouTube. i found the festival in the desert.it great
hey, i agree with you people down here in the comments when you say that pandora needs more music, especially in this particular genre, but stop posting comments about it! pandora doesn't really see these, and it does the community no good. send them an email and tell them! you can email suggestions for an artist or band by sending an email to 'suggest-mus i c @ p a n d o r a . c o m ' . they love to get suggestions, but it needs to get to them through the appropriate routes
(i.e. an email to the aforemention e d address). also, having done this numerous times myself, i know that they respond quickly, and they will share their input on your suggestions as well. no automated responses - real people getting real suggestions. and this way, they can keep track of what their listeners want; the more emails they get for world music, the more likely it is that they'll do something about it. come on people, put your musical interests to work!
id like more african music. let it rip
Please Pandora expand African/worl d music. I'm impressed you have Indian Raga and tabla, but severely limited on other parts of the world.
joe69889
I agree with jeff.graham4 , where's the african music? Let alone a world music genre. This is a gaping hole in Pandora's repetoire.
jeff.graham4
Lack of African guitar is a serious deficiency.
nikhil_murga i 2 0 0 1
I cant find Ali's son's (Vieux Farka Toure) music out here. Any ideas when he would be added?
Can not find on Pandora Ali Farka's song " Diaraby ". It is theme song on NPR's program " The World ". It is on Album: " Besieged " - Music from the motion picture - 2008 Milan Records ; and of course on Ali's Album: " Talking Timbuktu ". Check out that song - " Diaraby ". I do believe this is the best ever song by Ali Farka. Just listen to it once.
loverofsky
thank you pandora for a quiet afternoon. i love this station. i wish there was music that was eve more similar to ali's
Great artist!!!
bokigamu
Good choices of music esp of Ali Farka toure, i am still trying to find music sang by Alain Koukou.
Otherwise lots of applause!!!

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