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In the Heart of the Moon

Ali Farka Toure, Toumani Diabate Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
Price: 11.56 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Dec 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: World Circuit Ltd
  • ASIN: B0009NDLJA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,167 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Product Description

Guitarist Ali Farka Touré and kora player Toumani Diabaté, both of whom come from Mali, are two of Africa’s greatest musicians. In the Heart of the Moon is their first full-length album collaboration and it is also the first new album by either artist in 5 years. The original idea was that they would duet on just one track, but their creativity could not be contained, and the result is an album’s worth of new material. There were no rehearsals, and the improvised performances were recorded over three magical two-hour sessions at the Hotel Mandé, on the banks of the Niger River, in Bamako, Mali.

With Ali on acoustic guitar and Toumani’s kora, there was some extraordinary interplay between the pair. The recordings also feature subtle contributions from Ry Cooder on kawai piano & ripley guitar, Sekou Kante and Cachaíto López on bass, and Joachim Cooder and Lekan Babalola on percussion.

BBC Review

This long-awaited album of duets by two giants of Mali's music scene is a gem that unites two major streams of traditional West African music. The desert blues of guitarist Ali Farka Touré draws heavily on the northern Songrai/Peul culture, while kora maestro Toumani Diabaté is from the southern Mandé culture. And although it sounds like an established partnership made in heaven, demonstrating the kind of rapport that usually only comes from years spent playing together, it's actually their first significant collaboration. That's virtuosity for you.

Brought together in a makeshift studio for the very first time by producer Nick Gold, they recorded three short unrehearsed sessions over consecutive days, revisiting a repertoire of Malian songs that mostly date from the late 50s and early 60s, known to both through familial, professional and folkloric connections some of which go back several centuries. The minimal accompaniment of percussion, bass, guitar and keyboard added later generally enhances rather than intrudes on their wonderfully flowing, acoustic meditations, with Toumani Diabaté's rippling kora taking most of the melodic leads, and the guitar providing backing. So it's really a kora album, with Ali only occasionally soloing or adding the odd spoken word comment.

The last three tracks are new versions of songs from Ali Farka Touré's back catalogue, with only the slightly stiff version of "Hawa Dolo" a disappointment if compared to the breathtaking original on his best album, The Source. Elsewhere, this is a gorgeous instant classic, up there with Toumani Diabaté's best work on New Ancient Strings and Kaira.

These are two artists who seem to subscribe to the less is more philosophy, both in the sparseness of their arrangements and the frequency of their releases. So it's exciting news that both also have full band albums due shortly after this and that there's another collaboration in the pipeline... --Jon Lusk

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love this? - then try their other stuff 25 Nov 2005
Format:Audio CD
I've got most of Ali Farka Toure's and Toumani Diabate's catalogue and some of what they have done rates among my favourite music. Ever. I have seen them both live. And without a shadow, I would consider them to be among the most pre-eminent musicians working today. Reason enough to hugely look forward to this recording.
It's easy, though, to get carried away by hyperbole. They themselves know this; in Africa, musicians may be respected or even revered (as these two rightly are), but there is no cult of the superstar, no adulation or pretension. I think it's similarly easy to exaggerate the quality of musicianship on this recording - it's not the best that either have produced in the past. Which isn't surprising, considering that this is essentially a jam session! And I know I'm being a snob here, but to me the World Circuit treatment rankles - the occasional washes of electric piano and bass are, as ever, exquisitely tasteful and discreet - but the music is so strong, it just doesn't need this kind of support.
I read a review which said, this record is like taking an amiable walk with your two favourite uncles, one genial and laid-back, the other more prone to excitable flurries of talk. If you're looking for something inspirational, this ain't it. This is just very pleasant. Which sounds like an insult - again, it ain't. It's a compliment. These guys have both done blow-me-over inspirational (The Source, New Ancient Strings) and it's nice to take a break from that level of intensity.
So, four stars for what I have called a "nice, pleasant" recording. For the full five star, breathless can't-recommend-it-strongly-enough thing PLEASE check out Ballake Sissoko's latest (Tomora)! He's not as well known, but this disc is absolutely glorious.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mellow Melodies of Musical Masters 9 Mar 2006
Format:Audio CD
This is a rare feast! Two of Mali’s finest musicians getting together for a couple of jamming sessions! There were no rehearsals, just immediate harmony, understanding of the music and each musician exhibiting appreciation of the other. Both artists brought their rich repertoire with them, one leading the other into a melody they both knew and off they went… creative improvisation combined with virtuosity of their two instruments, guitar and kora. The backup team included no other than famous American guitarist Ry Cooder and his son Joachim.
IN THE HEART OF THE MOON may have taken a few hours to record, but the build up to this first musical encounter of Mali’s musical giants took many years. Listening to them play, you wouldn’t believe either time span. Having met and heard them both play in informal settings, I can imagine the sessions, the wordless intuitive exchange through eye contact and gestures. The result is, as they say, magic! According to the accompanying notes, they themselves were surprised how well each understood the musical culture of the other. Both could adapt their playing style to the other’s requirements. It demanded completely new harmonies on Toumani’s kora – it softened the voice of Ali’s guitar. Toumani’s comment: “This is a record of music that did not exist before!” It melds the different musical traditions of two distinct Malian cultures.

Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté have both been household names of Mali music for a long time. One is famous as Mr. Blues and the other admired as Mr. Kora. Their styles are rooted in their respective ethnic cultures: Ali comes from the northern Songraï and Toumani from a long line of (southern) Mandé griot tradition.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heart of the Moon 13 July 2005
Format:Audio CD
I first heard about this recording on one of the BBCs morning radio programmes and liked the snippet I heard then enough to order the CD. There is only one word to describe this recording. It is MAGICAL. I have only had it two days and am playing it all the time. If you want music to lift your spirits this is it. I'd give it more stars if I could. I would urge anyone to buy it.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magic 11 Sep 2005
Format:Audio CD
Imagine the scene: lunchtime in a small kitchen, kids moaning (when not shouting and screaming), mum rapidly losing patience... and then I put THIS on the CD player. The idea was really to calm myself down, but the effect on the whole family was almost unnerving. I don't know which track came on first (possibly the gentle Hawa Dolo)but the kitchen which just half a second ago had been chaotic, suddenly fell perfectly silent. And stayed so. The 5-year olds were mesmerized, as was the put-upon mum, as, indeed, was I. What did it? Possibly the sheer complexity of the music - or possibly its clarity; no doubt its authority - this, after all, is authoritative music; but most probably something else, some added value which it would be ridiculous to attempt to describe. Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté have gone beyond mere fine musicianship on this album: they are performing magic.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece!!! 28 Jun 2005
Format:Audio CD
All I can say is: "World Circuit" produces the best albums
I have ever heard. This one is no exception.
Two of the best african musicians together:
Ali Farka Toure on acoustic guitar and Toumani Diabate on Kora.
Guests: Ry Cooder and Cachaito Lopez from Buena Vista Social
Club.
Very relaxed and improvising music.
As I first heard it I had to hear it again immediately.So beautiful it is.
Most of the songs are instrumentals but all masterpieces.
Buy it soon!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have
This is just beautiful music by two naturally great artist. The Kora and guitar together is fantastic, at the same rhythmic and relaxing
Published 14 days ago by Avatar1024
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album
This album is intense as well as being soothing and relaxing. If you like Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate then you're sure to like this. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Nelson Pine
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
Some reviewers have criticized this album for being too 'bland', but I cannot agree. African music has been modified by European influences in many ways (as European music has... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Harry
4.0 out of 5 stars From the heart of Mali
This 2005 Grammy-winner featured the late, great blues guitarist Ali Farka Toure (no. 76 in Rolling Stone's table of the `Greatest Guitarists of All Time') who died in 2006 of bone... Read more
Published 10 months ago by The Guardian
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful
I fell in love with the kora when I saw Catrin Finch, harpist, performing together with Seckou Keita on kora. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jane Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Not my usual choice but I love it
Don't usually listen to this type of music but after reading reviews I thought I'd give it a go and I'm glad I did. Read more
Published 14 months ago by T Twitcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Laid back
I am not sure what prompted me to buy this,but the musicianship is brilliant, every track a winner and I find myself playing it very often. Lovely guitar playing by a master.
Published 15 months ago by H. Macrae
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting
I had listened to both Farka Toure and Diabate before, each respectively on their own individual albums. But combined, this is breathtakingly melodic and calming experience. Read more
Published on 27 Dec 2009 by E. J. A. Alcock
5.0 out of 5 stars Banks of the Niger
When I saw the confirmation email from Amazon for my girlfriend for this album I thought "not more West African music... Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2009 by M. N. B. Kotani
4.0 out of 5 stars Set the controls for the heart of the moon ... (a layman's view)
I know little about world music and came to buy this having heard Toumani Diabaté's contributions to the Damon Albarn's co-authored Mali Music. Read more
Published on 6 Mar 2008 by Demob Happy
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