Courtesy of the artist
Vieux Farka Toure's "Borei" has all the energy of classic African pop, paired with exuberant call-and-response vocals and blistering guitar solos.
Vieux Farka Toure's "Borei" has all the energy of classic African pop, paired with exuberant call-and-response vocals and blistering guitar solos. Courtesy of the artist
Artist: Vieux Farka Toure
CD: The Secret
It's hard to escape the shadow of a giant. Malian guitarist and vocalist Vieux Farka Toure — son of Ali Farka Toure, one of the greatest artists to come not just out of Africa, but out of anywhere in the 20th century — has taken a long road to finding his own musical identity. (You might think there'd have been a dynasty in the works, but the father discouraged his son from following an artistic path, to the point of urging Vieux to enlist in Mali's army.)
And, although his late father is heard on the title track to The Secret — the last session he cut before his death in 2005 — this album is entirely of Vieux's own vision. There might be forays into jam-band land (such as "All the Same," with guest Dave Matthews) and funk ("Lakkal," with Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno, who also produced the album), but some of the strongest selections come straight from the heart of Mali.
"Borei" is one of those tunes: It's got all of the energy of classic African pop paired with exuberant call-and-response vocals and blistering guitar solos, a perfect pairing of the past and the future. Vieux Farka Toure proves himself a more confident singer and guitarist here than ever before — and if this is the next generation of African blues, long may it live.