TalkingGigs is delighted to present a unique opportunity to see and hear world music star Vieux Farka Toure playing solo and in conversation with Andy Morgan. Vieux is playing a small number of UK dates with his 3 piece band, but this gig will be different with Vieux playing solo and also talking across a range of topics including his music, background and influences with author and journalist Andy Morgan, who is an acknowledged expert on music and culture of the Sahara.
Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006. Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father disapproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed away.
Vieux’s self-titled debut album, released in 2007, followed his father’s musical tradition, giving new versions of the West African music that is echoed in the American blues. The album featured Toumani Diabaté, as well as his late father. On his second record, Fondo, Vieux branched out and presented his own sound: while remaining true to the roots of his father’s music he uses elements of rock, Latin music, and other African influences. And with the release of his third studio album, The Secret, Vieux established himself as one of the world’s rare musical talents and guitar virtuosos with a distinct style that always pays homage to the past while looking towards the future.
In 2013, Vieux Farka Touré’s beautiful and critically acclaimed latest album Mon Pays was released as an homage to his homeland. With his native Mali recently splintered by territorial fighting between Tuareg and Islamic rebels Mon Pays was devoted to reminding the world about the beauty and culture of his native Mali. Two songs on the project ‘Future’ and ‘Peace’ feature Sidiki Diabate’s kora leading an emotional charge complemented by Touré’s spectacular guitar work. Both tracks represented an important generational “passing of the torch” as Sidiki’s father, Toumani is considered one of the greatest living kora masters and was a close friend of Vieux’s father Ali.
In addition to his solo work, he has released two collaborative albums with Israeli star Idan Raichel, the first of which drew comparisons to Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder’s legendary Talking Timbuktu album. The whole project was revered by many as not just a musical gem for the ages but a powerful testimonial to the power of art and fraternity to transcend vast cultural and political divides.
Most recently he has worked with New York-based singer Julia Easterlin on a project and album, entitled Touristes. The work examines their respective musical roots and passions and transforms what they find into something entirely new and unique, creating music equal parts modern and ancient, haunting and playful, subtle and visceral.
His live performances are highly energized and Vieux is known for dazzling crowds with his speed and dexterity on the guitar, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile, both of which captivate audiences from all audiences in spite of any language barriers (though Vieux does speak 8 languages). Don’t miss this chance to experience such a major star playing raw and ‘unplugged’ and talking about himself and his music in a wonderfully intimate setting.
Vieux Farka Toure
The "Hendrix of the Sahara" and son of the legendary Ali Farka Toure
Wednesday 3rd March 2016, 7.30pm
Yellow Arch Studies, 30-36 Burton Rd, Sheffield