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Top 10 World Music CDs

Vieux Farka Touré
February , 2008

By Ernest Barteldes

Vieux Farka Touré
World Village

It's not easy to follow in the footsteps of a legend, and this debut by the father of the sadly departed Ali Farka Touré carries his father's torch with honor. Ali himself, who at first opposed Vieux’s musical career, lends a hand playing lead on “Diallo,” a song whose lyrics pay tribute to a member of the “true Fulani people” who doesn’t live like the country’s idle rich, and “who does not have a fat stomach [or] eat alone in public.” The beat is constant, and opens up a lot of space for the senior Touré to freely improvise between the lyrics. “Courage” is another highlight of the album, with vocalist Issa Sory Bamba joining in over a heavy funk bass and rock-inflected arrangement that could easily fit into the alt-rock medium if it weren’t for the language barrier (all the lyrics are in Mali’s native tongue). By contrast, “Diabaté” is a haunting but simply executed instrumental duet that features kora master Toumani Diabaté and Vieux, who provides a solid acoustic guitar backing and a few well-chosen solos.