Aliou Touré: 'I want people to take as much as they possibly can from our music'
- Robin Murray
- 6 November 2019
Ahead of headlining The Great Western, Malian desert blues collective Songhoy Blues talk about forging connections and the importance of politics to their music
Songhoy Blues are a band on a mission. Formed in the aftermath of civil conflict in their native Mali, they feel duty bound to tell the world about their struggle and the rich culture that propels them forwards. It's a journey that has taken them around the globe, and when we finally track down the group's Aliou Touré, they're somewhere in New Mexico travelling to their next show.
'You know, it's always joyful for us to be onstage,' he beams. 'If you can do that forever, we'd be more than happy to do it.' Music for Songhoy Blues is a means of bringing people together, of smashing down boundaries and having an incredible time while doing it. 'Music is the best love we share together,' he insists. 'The language and the culture doesn't matter – it's just the feeling people get and the love we share with them which is most important. We are proud to see people across the world jumping on our music.'
With two stunning studio albums under their collective belts, Songhoy Blues recently unveiled their brand new EP 'Meet Me In The City', boasting an exceptional cover of Fela Kuti's uncompromising afrobeat statement 'Shakara'. For this band of Malian migrants, politics and music are naturally intertwined. 'We are a band that is fighting against what is going on in Africa – all the political corruption,' Aliou states. 'People fall in love with our music and most of them ask us about the meaning, the lyrics, the background story. We feel responsible for that, to write something that they can understand. Then we can entertain each other, and they can know the feeling, the background message behind our music.' It's a radical message, he adds, one perhaps driven out of the political arena: 'So, what about putting the message through the art, or the culture?'