Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ali Farka Touré

Ali Farka Touré has died in his sleep.

Update: The Times of London has an obituary. Radio France Internationale has a biography. (I've forgotten the blogger who pointed to that, but thank you.) NPR has a remembrance or two, with links to full length cuts and previous stories. Afropop has some appreciations, and their podcast has now been updated to include Ali Farka Touré live from Niafunké.

I saw Ali Farka Touré and his Groupe Asko once in concert, about ten years ago. I remember him as being friendly and down to earth, but I couldn't even fake a proper greeting in any of the languages he spoke, so it's just an impression, and a shallow one. I took some pictures. He's smiling in every one, sincerely it seems to me. On stage he was charismatic, energetic, a great improvisor, and good at managing rapport. That's how I remember him.

His recorded music has been a constant source of joy in our home. I haven't yet listened to In the Heart of the Moon, for which he and Toumani Diabaté were awarded a Grammy. I've moved it to the top of my wishlist. (Toumani is a wonderful musician, by the way.) The Source and The River are my still my favorite albums by Farka. Talking Timbuktu is nice, and Niafunké is pretty enjoyable too. Radio Mali and the Red and Green Albums are maybe best left to fans. I don't know, it's hard to imagine not being a fan.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 7:55 AM.


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