194

Ali Farka Toure: Red & Green

Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
Ali Farka Toure: Red & Green The link between Africa and America, i.e. whether there is still a surviving link that exists from the period of the slave trade, has been a subject of numerous explorations, assumptions, projects, movies (Feels like Goin' Home by Scorsese). In all the regions worldwide there were people that went to all kinds of places, recording songs and thus evidencing the legacy of different folk cultures. One of the most evident examples about that link between Africa and North America is probably Ali Farka Toure, one of today's most notable figures from Africa. When you listen to some of his works, the first thing you notice are the similarities with another mythical figure from the world of blues, John Lee Hooker. But these two figures don't have any meeting points except that both draw inspiration from the rich African musical traditions.

Still, before becoming a celebrity worldwide, he was a famous figure in Mali, where he published albums that somehow mysteriously found their way to its audience in Europe.

These two albums were originally published in 1984 and 1988, and besides the titles and Toure's photography they provided no further information. Therefore, they were named by fans as Red and Green albums. Firstly, they were published by Sonodisk and were available only in Mali and France. The Red album (1984) quickly found its way to specialized radio shows and magazines, where Toure was hailed as "the African John Lee Hooker." As a result of that, WC went to Mali armed with a copy of the Red album in search of Toure. This will mark the rise of Toure's popularity that will result in five great albums including the collaboration with Ry Cooder, Talking Timbuktu , which won a Grammy in 1994.

The tunes on these reissues are simple and distinct. Followed by his guitar, Toure is singing in several local languages and is joined by two local instruments, calabash and ngoni. These are actually some of the first recordings of these instruments. The music itself runs down the clich's about African music and its accent on rhythm. Still, the guitar is impressionable with its melodies and simplicity. Toure's playing is always melodic, modal, and meditative, and he repeats musical phrases over and over again, subtly changing them. There are many highlights on this issue ("La Drogue," "Ali Aoudy," "Sidi Gouro," etc), but the beauty of this double CD comes from Toure's light touch on the strings as well as his flexible, reedy voice, which both perfectly complement his rhythmic style.

A long time ago, these albums were printed in small quantities which sold out while the master tapes were laying in basements forgotten. Finally, these classics are now seeing the light of the day and hopefully will receive the credits they deserve. After all, this is the foundation of the legend of Ali Farka Toure.


Track Listing: RED: 1. La Drogue 2. Ali Aoudy 3. Cherie 4. Timbindy 5. Laleiche 6. Ketne 7. Laisse Les Phases 8. Baliky Lalo. GREEN: 1. Sidi Gouro 2. O Kata Gouma 3. Devele Wague 4. N'timbara 5. Zona 6. M'baudy 7. Petenere 8. L'Exode

Personnel: Ali Farka Toure - guitar, vocals; Hammer Sankare - vocals, calabash, ngoni

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: World Circuit | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Factory Girl" CD/LP/Track Review Factory Girl
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 22, 2016
Read "Invisible Man" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Man
by Anthony Shaw
Published: June 2, 2016
Read "Sketches on the Radio" CD/LP/Track Review Sketches on the Radio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Instant Oats" CD/LP/Track Review Instant Oats
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 18, 2016
Read "Follow The Stick" CD/LP/Track Review Follow The Stick
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 18, 2016
Read "Between Brothers" CD/LP/Track Review Between Brothers
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!