Posted inMusic

Ali Farka Toure

In Mali, when a family loses a child, by custom they give the next baby an unusual nickname. Ali Toure’s mother had borne nine boys who died in infancy, so when she had her tenth she called him “Farka,” which means “donkey.” And the young Ali did turn out to be stubborn, bucking his country’s […]

Posted inMusic

Ali Farka Toure

Blues legends like John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and J.B. Lenoire are often cited as the closest thing to Ali Farka Toure, but at the core of the Malian guitarist’s music is a sumptuous beauty that is beyond comparison. Last year’s stunning Talking Timbuktu (Hannibal/World Circuit) paired Toure with producer Ry Cooder and Clarence “Gatemouth” […]

Posted inMusic

Ali Farka Toure

Ali Farka Toure sometimes sounds like he has one foot planted in the Mississippi Delta and the other in the Niger. His work is deeply rooted in Malian tradition; in one interview he explained that he sings about “education, work, love, and society.” But although he sings exclusively in West African languages, he sounds like […]