Ali Farka Touré & Ry Cooder – Ai Du


Ali Ibrahim “Ali Farka” Touré (31 October 1939 – 6 March 2006) was a Malian singer and multi-instrumentalist, and one of the African continent’s most internationally renowned musicians. His music blends traditional Malian music and its derivative, African American blues and is considered a pioneer of African desert blues. Touré was ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and number 37 on Spin magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

Some years after his death, a group of musicians playing in his style performed as the Ali Farka Touré Allstars (2012), and later the Ali Farka Touré Band (formed 2014).

Touré was born in 1939 in the village of Kanau, on the banks of the Niger River in Gourma-Rharous Cercle in the northwestern Malian region of Tombouctou. His family belonged to the Songhai community and moved to the nearby village of Niafunké when he was still an infant. His father died serving in the French Army in 1940. He was the tenth son of his mother but the only one to survive past infancy. “The name I was given was Ali Ibrahim, but it’s a custom in Africa to give a child a strange nickname if you have had other children who have died”, Touré was quoted as saying in a biography on his record label, World Circuit Records. His nickname, “Farka”, chosen by his parents, means “donkey”, an animal admired for its tenacity and stubbornness: “Let me make one thing clear. I’m the donkey that nobody climbs on!”.

In 2004 Touré became mayor of Niafunké and spent his own money grading the roads, putting in sewer canals and fuelling a generator that provided the impoverished town with electricity.

Death and legacy
On 6 March 2006, the Ministry of Culture of Mali announced Touré’s death at age 66 in Bamako from bone cancer, which he had been battling for some time. His record label, World Circuit, said that he had recorded several tracks with his son, Vieux Farka Touré, for Vieux’s debut album, released in late 2006.

The Ali Farka Touré Foundation was created in his honour and to further his musical legacy. The foundation was represented by Ali Guindo at a 2017 show in New York City.

Musicians playing in his style played as the Ali Farka Touré Allstars at the last Festival au Désert in Timbuktu in 2012. In 2017, the Ali Farka Touré Band (which had formed in 2014) played as part of the “Caravane culturelle de la paix” in New York City, with a line-up led by lead vocalist Afel Bocoum, and including djembe player Souleymane Kane, guitar and vocalist Aly Magassa, guitar and vocalist Mamadou Kelly, and electric bass guitarist Oumar Diallo.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia