Vieux Farka Toure
Arches, Glasgow, Sun 25 Nov
When Vieux Farka Toure played at WOMAD this year, world music fans were intrigued to see how he would fare. When his father, the great Malian music oracle Ali Farka Toure died in 2006, he left behind a musical legacy that fans believed no one could really follow. Even Toure agreed: ‘My father is a legend, and his technique was unique. So nobody could ever follow in his footsteps. He was Ali and I am Vieux.’
However much Vieux attempts to separate his music from his father’s, Ali’s distinctive bluesy guitar has seeped into the heart of his debut album Vieux Farka Toure. It’s an extraordinary new sound: desert blues meets rock and reggae, but Toure can put it more floridly: ‘I like keeping one foot firmly in tradition and the other taking off in another direction. It’s like having traditional Malian music as the trunk, and my music as a branch.’
This seems to be the gist of much West African music at the moment – this idea of fusing old and new – but Toure, under the patronage of not only his father, but also Toumani Diabate and Afel Bocoum, has drawn on all these influences and ushered in a new generation of Afrobeat.
Such is the collaborative nature of Malian music, Toure has just been travelling with Tinariwen in the States, and like Ali in Talking Timbuktu, has just recorded a soundtrack with Ry Cooder for the new Julia Roberts film. Saharan roots and Cuban blues meet again – but with a modern twist. Sounds intriguing.