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Vieux Farka Toure; Vieux Farka Toure (World Village) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Vieux Farka Toure; Vieux Farka Toure (World Village) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

In the Western world the offspring of famous musicians often have a hard time if they choose to follow in the footsteps of their parents: witness the case of Julian and Sean Lennon. But in other cultures, notably in India and parts of the African continent, there is not only an acceptance but an expectation that children will take up the same...

Dee Dee Bridgewater: Red Earth, A Malian Journey (Universal)

Dee Dee Bridgewater: Red Earth, A Malian Journey (Universal)

Just last week I was saying to a friend that Mali was starting to feel like the new Jamaica. Consider the number of artists whose names are becoming familiar: the late Ali Farka Toure and now his gifted son Vieux Farka Toure; Toumani Diabate, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare . . . And now there is the wave of sub-Sahara blues bands like Etran...

Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba: Segu Blue (Out Here/Elite)

Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba: Segu Blue (Out Here/Elite)

The death in March 2006 of the great Mali musician Ali Farka Toure -- who reached a global audience in the mid 90s with the Talking Timbuktu album recorded with Ry Cooder -- lead to many tributes but also the question, who could possibly take his place? Well, his son Vieux Farka Toure's album -- which appeared in the Best of Elsewhere 2007...

Habib Koite and Bamada: Afriki (Cumbancha/Elite)

Habib Koite and Bamada: Afriki (Cumbancha/Elite)

Music from Mali doesn't come much more mesmerising or mellow than this consistently laidback series of songs by one of that country's most inventive and musically curious griots. For this album, recorded on three continents, Koite typically drew on Mali's regional styles -- although most listeners (self included) won't be attuned to these...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Toumani Diabate: The Mande Variations (World Circuit/Elite)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Toumani Diabate: The Mande Variations (World Circuit/Elite)

Here's one of the best world music albums of the year: a rare solo outing by the Malian kora master Toumani Diabate who learned from the late guitarist Ali Farka Toure also from his homeland (there is a track here dedicated to Farka Toure with whom he performed on the wonderful In the Heart of the Moon album). Like his mentor, Diabate has...

Various: Womad New Zealand 2008 (Shock)

Various: Womad New Zealand 2008 (Shock)

More than a third of the artists on this 16 track collection -- Toumani Diabate, Mavis Staples, SJD, Cesaria Evora, Beirut, Susana Baca -- have appeared at Elsewhere, and a few of them have been considered among the Best of Elsewhere 2007. So much of this multi-culti music will be familiar to Elsewhere people -- so let's throw the attention...

Ali Farka Toure/Toumani Diabate: In the Heart of the Moon (Elite)

Ali Farka Toure/Toumani Diabate: In the Heart of the Moon (Elite)

In world music circles Malian guitarist Toure and kora player Diabate, are acknowledged geniuses, and Toure’s playing and sandpaper vocal style have drawn comparisons with Delta blues musicians. He almost leapt to greater recognition with Talking Timbuktu a few years ago (with Buena Vista Social Club prime-mover Ry Cooder, in the...

Amadou and Miriam: Welcome to Mali (Warners)

Amadou and Miriam: Welcome to Mali (Warners)

Just by the sheer number of artists it produces, you'd have to say Mali seems to have -- like Jamaica -- an almost unnatural number of gifted, inventive musicians, many of whom have appeared at Elsewhere: the late Ali Farka Toure and his son Vieux Farka Toure, Oumou Sangare, Djelimady Tounkara, Habib Koite, Toumani Diabate . . . Amadou and...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate: Ali and Toumani (World Circuit)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate: Ali and Toumani (World Circuit)

When the great guitarist Ali Farka Toure from Mali died in late 2005 he left an exceptional legacy of wonderful albums, not the least being the exceptional In the Heart of the Moon with kora player Toumani Diabate. That album was why sites like Elsewhere exist (J.Lo hardly needs our help. right?) Their mesmerising music was like a portal...

Cheikh Lo: Jamm (World Circuit)

Cheikh Lo: Jamm (World Circuit)

This inventive singer, writer and arranger from Senegal hasn't appeared at Elsewhere since is wonderful Lamp Fall on '06 at which time I observed he was like a Paul Simon from an alternative universe: he assimilates and explores musical styles and genres to create something his own. This even better album -- cleanly produced by Nick Gold and...

Mamadou Diabate: Courage (World Village)

Mamadou Diabate: Courage (World Village)

As the son of kora player N'fa Diabate who was a founder of the Instrumental Ensemble of Mali and with the great Toumani Diabate as a cousin, Mamadou was born to play the kora. For this, his fifth album -- it follows his previous Douga Mansa which won the '09 Grammy for Best Traditional World Music album and his second album Behmanka which...

Djelimady Tounkara: Solon Kono (Harmonia Mundi)

Djelimady Tounkara: Solon Kono (Harmonia Mundi)

Guitarist Tounkara sometimes spins off notes like an avant-garde guitarist (he is admired by New York's Bill Frisell who has performed with him) but for this album he gets back onto acoustic guitar to work within the tradition of his homeland Mali on a set of songs which invite in the family and longtime friends. There are a couple of songs...

Ali Farka Toure: Savane (World Circuit/Elite)

Ali Farka Toure: Savane (World Circuit/Elite)

The late Toure was one of the greatest singer-songwriters to emerge out of the musically fertile region around Mali in the last century. The area -- from which numerous slaves were taken to the United States -- was the crucible for music which, after the Middle Passage, became the blues. Much of Toure's music invited comparisons with John...

Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra: Boulevard de l'Independence (/Elite)

Toumani Diabate's Symmetric Orchestra: Boulevard de l'Independence (/Elite)

Copies of this uplifting album by Diabate from Mali come with an intelligent and interesting DVD-doco which shines a light on the culture of the griot -- a caste of hereditary musicians-cum-storytellers and counsellors to the influential -- and also explains that unusual band name: Diabate wanted to bring together the traditions of the griot...

Cheikh Lo: Lamp Fall (World Circuit/Elite)

Cheikh Lo: Lamp Fall (World Circuit/Elite)

Singer-guitarist Lo from Senegal is a man whose music observes no boundaries: on previous albums he's brought a warm Cuban sound into the context of African juju guitars, had Pee Wee Ellis of James Brown's band arrange the horns, and he seems to like a jazzy saxophone alongside talking drum. It's an intoxicating tropical cocktail and for this...

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