On his extraordinary homonymous 2007 debut, Vieux Farka Touré both paid tribute to his late, legendary father, Malian guitar icon Ali Farka Touré, and began to distance himself from that heritage.
Fondo leaves no doubt that the 27-year-old, having absorbed the musical language of Mali, is eager to transcend its traditions. Like his desert mates Tinariwen, Touré is an unapologetically modern African artist, one who takes in what the rest of the world offers and adapts it easily. Atop a bed of Saharan blues he layers sleek rock riffs and pounding drums, chunky funk rhythms, trippy reggae and dub, and the patient intricacies of a jam band's noodlings.
Like his father, Touré is a guitarist to be reckoned with, peeling out precise, mesmerizing passages that often shoot off in multiple, looping directions. On the opening "Fafa," his glistening, reverb-drenched tone recalls Eric Clapton's in the original "Layla," whereas on the frenzied "Chérie Lé" his crescendoing improvisations nudge his accompanists ever higher. All but one song, the traditional "Walé," is a Touré original, and though there tends to be a sameness among some of the structures, he diversifies enough to keep things moving: the sweet, acoustic "Paradise" features kora master Toumani Diabaté, and the guest vocals of Afel Bocoum on three tracks add extra grit.
Both men had worked with Ali Farka, but never does Fondo feel as if anyone but Vieux Farka were calling the shots.
VIEUX FARKA TOURÉ + DIRTY PROJECTORS | Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Sq, Somerville | June 18 at 7 pm | 617.876.4275 or www.worldmusic.org