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Vieux Farka Touré
The “Hendrix of the Sahara,” eminent Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré dazzles crowds with speed and dexterity, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile.
Friday, Apr 21, 2023, 8 p.m.
- A: $44
- B: $34
- C: $34
MEMBER BENEFIT: Members at Friends level and above receive 10% off on all tickets to this performance
About the Event
The “Hendrix of the Sahara,” eminent Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré is the son of the late desert blues pioneer Ali Farka Touré. His energetic live performances dazzle crowds with speed and dexterity, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile.
Born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981, Touré was initially a drummer and calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in 2001. His debut album, which featured tracks recorded with his father, followed the elder Touré’s musical tradition, giving new versions of the West African music that is echoed in the American blues.
On his second recording, Fondo on Six Degrees (2009), Touré branched out and presented his own sound: while remaining true to the roots of his father’s music, he used other African influences alongside elements of rock and Latin music. By June 2010, Touré had performed at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
In 2011, Touré released his third studio album, The Secret, featuring South African-born vocalist Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks on electric slide guitar, and jazz guitarist John Scofield. The Secret established Touré as a guitar virtuoso. Then in 2012, Touré collaborated with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel for The Tel Aviv Session. Touré’s beautiful 2013 album Mon Pays was devoted to reminding the world about the beauty and culture of his native Mali.
He then reunited with Idan Raichel in Paris to record and tour behind their second collaborative album, The Paris Session, in 2014, offering a testimonial to the power of art and fraternity to transcend vast cultural and political divides. In 2015, Touré released another unexpected, genre-bending collaborative album, Touristes, with New York-based singer Julia Easterlin. It shot to the top of the iTunes World chart and earned critical acclaim, including that of John Schaefer (NPR) who called it “brilliant.
Touré’s 2017 album Samba was recorded live in front of a small audience in Woodstock, New York, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and all touring ground to a halt, Touré focused on his craft at home, working tirelessly in the studio he built at his family’s compound. The result was the 2022 album, Les Racines, which saw Touré masterfully returning to the deep roots of the Songhai music of northern Mali known as “desert blues.”
As a passionate champion for the people of Mali and the Sahel, Touré founded the charity Amahrec Sahel in 2012. As part of Amahrec Sahel’s mission to support humanitarian reconstruction and culture, the charity has provided school supplies for children, supported an orphanage in Bamako, and provided musical instruments for young musicians in Mali. Touré is also the director of The Ali Farka Touré Foundation, an international organization dedicated to the preservation of his father’s legacy and the cultural growth of Mali.