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“Virtuosic guitar helps mend the wounds of war in this Malian insta-classic”
The title of guitar virtuoso Vieux Farka Touré’s latest album is translated as “My Country” in English. Originally conceived as an homage to his home country of Mali, the project assumed a new meaning as the ongoing conflict between Tuareg freedom fighters and the Malian government erupted in renewed combat last year.
Though it is mostly instrumental, Mon Pays conveys a message of healing and cultural preservation in the face of the destruction of war.
Son of the late Malian guitar legend Ali Farka Touré, Vieux has proven himself to be much more than just a worthy heir to his father’s legacy. Well-versed in Malian music and a master of its classical guitar styles, Vieux also has a keen ear for blending the traditional with the modern.
Two of the tracks, “Future” and “Peace,” are duets between Vieux and kora player Sidiki Diabaté. Their collaboration recalls that of their fathers: Sidiki’s father Toumani was also a prominent kora player, as well as a musical collaborator and close friend of Ali Farka Touré. With these virtuosic, yet delicate duets, the sons pay tribute to their fathers and take up the mantle as protectors and ambassadors of Malian music.
Vieux Farka Touré
(Six Degrees Records)
Recorded by Yaya Diarra at Studio Yele in Mali
Mixed by Jerry Boys
Mastered by Tom Leader