Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Joe Tangari reviews Vieux Farka Touré's album.

Vieux Farka Touré's debut album is a transitional work, representing the passing of a standard from a father to a son. Some of Malian guitar legend Ali Farka Touré's final recordings are here on his son's debut, which takes the signature desert guitar style of Ali and subtly builds on it. It's difficult for a young musician to step out from the shadow a parent so revered in the same field, but to his credit Vieux is content to move slowly and find his own approach to the style.

Vieux and Ali play together on two tracks, and their interaction-- the son plays rhythm guitar and gives his father's unmistakable leads free reign, with interjections from ngoni player Bassekou Kouyaté-- is not surprisingly marked by deference and respect. "Tabara" is a slow and meditative instrumental spotlighted by a mellifluous lead from Ali, into which Vieux perfectly slips his minimal backing rhythm. The other collaboration, "Diallo", is a conversation between Vieux's wizened, parched vocals and Ali's electric guitar, which carries his distinctive pinched tone. The rhythm is propelled by hand percussion, which is this case means sound actually created by the hands, without drums or blocks.
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