Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté

IN THE HEART OF THE MOON | World CiRcuit/Nonesuch
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  March 14, 2006
3.5 3.5 Stars
SWAN SONG With his recent passing, Ali Farka Touré’s dozen duets with kora master Toumani Diabaté are now something of a requiem.Ali Farka Touré’s latest album, a dozen duets with kora master Toumani Diabaté, is now something of a requiem. The Malian guitarist, whose music fused his country’s traditional sounds and the rolling, propulsive Mississippi cadences of John Lee Hooker, died in his 60s, of bone cancer, on March 7 at his home in Bamako, near the hotel where this CD was recorded. The tunes, save for three originals, flash back on Touré’s roots. They draw on a folk style called jamana kura that blends Malian and Guinean music; it was popular when Touré was just beginning to play and influenced him profoundly. Most of the tracks are acoustic and instrumental, bright rippling pieces that flow at a gentle, light-hearted pace and resonate with the unspoken joy of improvisation. In fact, the entire session was unrehearsed, yet both players mesh and move fluidly. Although all the tunes have similar tempi and share the same bright tonal palette, the unadorned beauty of their interplay makes everything go down so easily that occasional overdubs by Ry Cooder and his son Joachim are imperceptible. Touré fans expecting the biting, deep, authoritative licks that brought him to prominence in the ’80s may be disappointed, but this graceful recording is a worthwhile reminder of his broad range — and the musical world from which he emerged.
Related: Vieux Farka Touré, Final acts, Basic elements, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Toumani Diabate, John Lee Hooker, Ali Farka Toure
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