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In the heart of the moon

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Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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In the heart of the moon + ALI AND TOUMANI + Talking Timbuktu
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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 May 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: World Circuit
  • ASIN: B0009NDLJA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,124 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Debe 4:55£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Kala 5:06£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Mamadou Boutiquier 5:05£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Monsieur Le Maire De Niafunké 3:58£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Kaira 6:24£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Simbo 4:00£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Ai Ga Bani 4:34£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Soumbou Ya Ya 3:30£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Naweye Toro 4:23£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Kadi Kadi 3:21£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Gomni 4:17£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Hawa Dolo 5:00£0.79  Buy MP3 

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

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Willem Vink on 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 By Friederike Knabe on 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 By Mrs.C.G.Sutton on 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 By G R Walker on 11 Sept. 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Demob Happy on 6 Mar. 2008
Format: Audio CD
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. I can see that some of the reviews here from the world music community have levelled accusations that this album is rather bland and that it has been watered-down to render it inoffensive for the wider music-buying community. Others have said that it is background music and that the musicians' playing is quite average and uninspired by their standards. From a layman's point of view, I cannot question the authenticity of the recording but can attest to the beauty of the music. If the accusation is that it is too simple, then my argument would be that simplicity is not necessarily a bad thing. The interplay between the guitarists is repetetive but rather hypnotic and certainly atmospheric. It is true that it doesn't always hold the attention, but the grooves often have an insistence that find a way of worming their way back into the consciousness. The mood is pretty invariable, and there are not really any singular moments to point to, but this is heartwarming, becalming stuff that you can really abandon yourself to if in the right mood. Let yourself be carried away.
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