Thursday, January 19, 2006

Toumani Diabate and Ali Farka Toure, In the Heart of the Moon

Ali Farka Toure points out in a heartfelt sleeve note that it is rare to find musicians from such different cultures collaborating in Mali. This is especially true of the northern desert traditions Ali has devoted his musical life to, and the sometimes exclusive world of Mande griots in which Toumani was nurtured. On top of that, there is the grandeur of these particular figures: Ali, the quintessential "African bluesman," legendary champion of northern music, and worldwide icon of African guitar; and Toumani, commonly acclaimed by those in the know as the greatest living player of the demanding, 21-string West African harp, the kora. Ali and Toumani inhabit the top tier of Mali’s musical pantheon, and yet there is an endearing father/son dynamic at play between them, with Ali having entered music in part under the tutelage of Toumani’s father Sidiki, and having known Toumani literally since the kora maestro’s infancy. Ali writes that Sidiki taught him the classic Mande repertoire back in the 1950s and 60s, and the songs of that era dominate here. Indeed, thought this is not the genre Ali is best known for, classic Made fare was the music that first inspired him to pick up a guitar back in 1956. Add to this compelling story line the lush, rich sound recording achieved by World Circuit’s secret weapon - engineer Jerry Boys - and this release is automatically one for the history books.

You can find the full review here

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