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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love this? - then try their other stuff
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...
Published on 25 Nov 2005 by Willem Vink

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26 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars musical wallpaper
I am a huge fan of African music and the music of Mali in particular, but this is just the blandest thing I have ever come across. The playing is superb, especially Toumani Diabate who dominates, but musically it is devoid of ideas (standard 3 chord progressions, rhythmically safe). I am growing increasingly cynical of anything involving Ry Cooder and this seems...
Published on 11 July 2006 by aangstrom


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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love this? - then try their other stuff, 25 Nov 2005
This review is from: In the heart of the moon (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
By 
Friederike Knabe "Books are funny little port... (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: In the heart of the moon (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. They are also from two generations. Toumani admired Ali’s music as a child. “Toumani is a child born in my hands” says Ali in the notes. He played with Toumani’s father, Sidiki Diabaté, also a famous kora virtuoso.
This album features by and large traditional compositions, most of them instrumental, some adapted by Ali for guitar, and one composed by Toumani dedicated to Ali on his election to Mayor of his hometown Niafunké. Those familiar with Malian music will recognize many of the tunes and enjoy the beauty of their interpretations. Those unfamiliar with its rich repertoire will find this album and excellent introduction. Just one warning – you will want to buy more recordings of both artists. [Friederike Knabe]
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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
By 
Mrs.C.G.Sutton (Lancing, West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In the heart of the moon (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
This review is from: In the heart of the moon (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
By 
This review is from: In the heart of the moon (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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty and virtuosity., 5 Aug 2005
This review is from: In the heart of the moon (Audio CD)
This is timeless, and in a sense, placeless music. Despite the origin it resonates with a universal beauty and quality. The two players weave and mingle, improvising and palpably enjoying the muscial liason.
The album flows from track to track, lifted by some well-chosen but sparse instrumentation as it develops.
Softer than 'Talking Timbuktu' and probably richer than 'New Ancient Strings', this is a worthwhile addition to the collection lovers of African music for sure, but it deserves a wide audience and appreciation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Set the controls for the heart of the moon ... (a layman's view), 6 Mar 2008
This review is from: In the heart of the moon (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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful, 29 Jun 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: In the heart of the moon (Audio CD)
This album shows again why Ali Farka Toure is the leading man in >Malian music. Playing together with the kora player Diabate they present almost effortless and natural improvisation. A must...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime., 9 July 2006
By 
M. J. O'Connell (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
This album is simply divine. Mamadou Boutiquier is exceptional, i played this track to my wife, who is not usually into this style of music, and she was moved by it. This is an album for dreamers and lovers of sublime, soul enriching music..if you like Ali Farka Toure and do not yet have this album i suggest you buy it.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music from the source, 30 Jun 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In the heart of the moon (Audio CD)
Radio3 was analysing/describing the capturing of tracks in Africa, turned out to be Mali, turned out to be AFK and TD.
I just heard the two names mentioned in one sentence, raced to this page and ordered. That was four/five days ago. Now on sixth hearing it is my top CD.
It does help if you know 'Talking Timbuktu' and 'New Ancient Strings'.
Their sleeve says this music is inspired by styles from the 1950's era. I would put its effects back one or two millenia. Probably humans never lived without aggression, but this music seems to come from pre-greco-judeo-christian culture and displays human soulfulness without trace of aggression.
I certainly am glad I could be introduced to this in summer breathing warm fresh air. Their music sounds as if it comes from the ultimate source of calm summer zephyrs.
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