Famous singer-songwriter and guitarist Old Farka Toure their new album is out today Roots through World Circuit Records. Touré is known as the “Hendrix of the Sahara” and the son of the late Desert Blues pioneer Ali Farka Touré; the scrapbook Roots is Touré’s first album on the label and his first since 2017. The title, which translates to “the roots”, represents a deep reconnection with the songhai music of northern Mali known as Desert Blues, made famous by his father via his own World Circuit comes out decades earlier. The album contains recent singles “Gabou Ni Tie”, “Ngala Kaourene” and “Flany Konaré”.
Purchase/diffusion Roots HERE.
To celebrate the release, Vieux will be hosting an album release party on Facebook Live on Friday, June 10 at 4:45 p.m. ET / 9:45 p.m. BST. Visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/vieuxfarkatoure to tune.
There is a popular proverb in Mali that the surname of life is change. It’s a saying that Vieux Farka Touré has followed throughout his career during a series of adventurous cross-border explorations and collaborations. However, there is another more universal saying that to know where we are going, we must know where we come from. It is this essential human need to embrace one’s heritage that is at the heart of Roots.
Son of the late Ali Farka Touré, hailed as the best guitarist Africa has ever produced, Vieux spent two years making Roots but the album had been brewing in his mind for even longer. “I’ve wanted to make a more traditional album for a very long time. It is important for me and for the people of Mali that we stay connected to our roots and our history,” explains Vieux. The lockdowns caused by the coronavirus outbreak, which kept him from filming, were turned to his advantage as he used the time to pen the most profound statement of his career to date.
The Roots is Vieux’s sixth solo album in a recording career that began in 2006 and has featured daring collaborations with Dave Matthews and jazz guitarist John Scofield, an album with American singer-songwriter Julia Easterlin, and two discs with the Israeli artist Idan Raichel in the role of the Collectif Touré-Raichel. “At the beginning of my career, people asked me why I didn’t just follow my father. But it was important for me to establish my own identity,” says Vieux. “Now people know what I can do, I can go back to those roots with pride and hope for some authority.”
Recorded in Bamako in Vieux’s home studio, the album’s timeless grooves are steeped in traditional West African music. But the fire of Vieux’s guitar playing and the urgency of the messages in his songs add a thoroughly contemporary relevance. “We are nothing if we abandon respect for the past,” notes Vieux. “But we can also marry modernity with the strength of our traditions.”
The ten songs, all original compositions, cover a range of topics, traditional and contemporary. “In Mali, many people are illiterate and music is the main means of transmitting information and knowledge,” says Vieux. “My father fought for peace and as artists we have an obligation to educate about the issues facing our country and to rally people and guide them to reason.”
“Going back to the roots of this music is a fresh start for me and I’ve never spent so much time or worked so hard on an album,” says Vieux. “I knew it had to be deep, long-lasting and powerful so I took a lot of time to think about how to make it and set it up.”
PRAISE FOR ROOTS:
“It’s pure, raw ur-boogie, a basic course in rock ‘n’ roll. 4/5″—MOJO
“Old sends out darkly swaying blue tendrils on a rolling, frayed medium.” -Wire
“Masterful… a full and fierce showcase of Vieux’s prowess and his reassertion of desert blues. 8/10″—UNCUT
“it’s hypnotic, seductive and full of beautiful melodies”—Brooklyn Vegan
“a labor of love and in-depth study that occasionally gestures toward his late father” – WBGO/NPR
“the sound of a confident musician claiming his heritage”—WNYC “New Sounds”/NPR
“the timeless sound of West Africa”—KCRW
LIST OF TRACKS
1. Gabou Ni tie
2. Ngala Kaourene
4. Be Together
8. Flany Konare
10. Ndjerene Direne
OLD FARKA TOURÉ TOUR DATES:
June 10—Infinity Music Hall and Bistro—Norfolk, CT
June 11—StageOne at FTC—Fairfield, CT
June 12—Afrika Nyaga Fest—Providence, RI
June 14—NY Guitar Festival at WNYC Greene Space—New York, NY
August 4—Celebrate Brooklyn—Brooklyn, NY*
August 7—Long’s Park Summer Music Series—Lancaster, Pennsylvania
August 14—Bout du Monde Music Festival—Gaspé, QC
* with Khruangbin