ALI AND TOUMANI
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Their second and last album together, recorded in 2005 with contributions from Orlando 'Cachaíto' López on bass. Produced by Nick Gold and beautifully recorded by Jerry Boys, this is the successor to the GRAMMY winning 'In the Heart of the Moon' which has sold over 40,000 copies in the UK alone. It is the last album recorded by both Ali Farka Touré and Cachaíto López.
These sessions brought together two legends of African music. The Malian-born guitarist and vocalist Ali Farka Toure was one of the first African musicians to become well-known outside his own continent. His music is widely regarded as representing a point of intersection of traditional Malian music and its North American cousin, the blues and he became known as the "African John Lee Hooker". Ali Farka Toure has recorded seven albums for World Circuit including the acclaimed "Talking Timbuktu", a collaboration with Ry Cooder.
Toumani Diabate is from a younger generation of Malian musicians and he comes from a family of exceptional griots. A master of the kora, a harp unique to West Africa with 21 strings, he is a performer of truly exceptional virtuosity and creativity. His cross-cultural approach to music has included collaborations with the Spanish flamenco group Ketama, bluesman Taj Mahal, the West African kora player Ballake Sissoko and pop star Bjork.
Personnel: Ali Farka Touré (guitar & vocals), Toumani Diabaté (kora), With: Orlando `Cachaíto' Lopez (bass), Vieux Farka Touré (congas, backing vocals), Souleye Kane, Ali Magasa (backing vocals), Tim Keiper (percussion)
"...precious testament of a hugely influential musician who helped reassert the African roots of blues guitar, captured here alongside his country's leading kora virtuoso.." -- The Independant
"Hear this and be thankful two of the brightest jewels in the African crown came together"
-- The Sun *****
"The interaction of Malian kora playing prodigy Diabate and the late great Niger-raised primal blues giant Farke Toure is the sort of material they must play in Heaven" -- Daily Mirror ****
"This is a magnificent and poignant farewell" -- The Guardian *****
(4 stars) Second sublime collaboration between two Mali masters. An African landmark...an album of spellbinding beauty. -- Uncut (Album of the Month), (Neil Spencer), March 2010
(4 stars) The final album by Timbuktu's favourite son finds him in masterful form...the kora solos still dazzle...never less than mesmeric. -- MOJO, (David Hutcheon), March 2010
(5 stars) 'In the Heart of the Moon' was as flawless a record as you could imagine...the follow-up is even better. -- Songlines, (Nigel Williamson), March 2010
(5 stars) The follow-up by Mali's greatest bluesman and his pal is another mesmeric tribute to Ali's legacy. -- Observer Music Monthly, January 2010
Brilliant, beautiful...the conversation between Touré and Diabaté has only deepened, a fluent push-me, pull-you flowing generously between the two.
-- The Observer (CD of the Week), (Kitty Empire), February 14, 2010
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The bluesy, mesmerising music on this magnificent recording is a fitting memorial to the late Malian guitarist and should be a strong contender for 'World Music' album of 2010.
This collection was released in 2010, following Toure's death from bone cancer in 2006. The sessions were recorded in London just weeks before Toure's death. Cuban bass player Orlando Lopez plays on many of the tracks, and the album was produced by Nick Gold.
If you're new to the music of Mali, this album is an excellent gateway of entry. The mostly instrumental tunes are subtle, complex and have a lightness of touch which simply brings joy to the heart. Many pieces are recorded for the first time with these instruments, so even natives of Mali familiar with the melodies may be surprised and delighted at the result.
Overall it's one sublime listening experience. The music possesses a rare delicacy and finesse; the musicians seem telepathic in the way of world-class jazz musicians, able to predict and follow each other to weave beguiling patterns and transport the listener to the heights of tranquillity.
If you like West African music then buying this should be a no-brainer. For my money it's even better than the Grammy winner `In the Heart of the Moon': this second collaboration is uniformly excellent with no flat spots, you can play it all day and all night long and never tire of it.
Recording and production values are exemplary. Buy it.
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