VIEUX FARKA TOURÉ

Presented by Caring Ambassadors

“The son of the late Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré inherited his dad’s dazzlingly fluid phrasing but clearly also digs the fiery African blues rock of bands like Tinariwen.” — Rolling Stone

“From album to album, Vieux Farka Touré is one of the most respected guitarists and musicians in the world. Each of his projects is praised both by critics and by the public. This new opus, a hybrid and inventive disc recorded in studio and in front of an audience, confirms the extent of his talent.” -- ICI Musique, CBC on album Samba

“Not just the “Hendrix of the Sahara” but much more besides.” — Songlines

With his collaborations and performance before a billion people —yes, you read that right—at the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa, Vieux Farka Touré is one of the most celebrated African guitarists in history.

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.

Vieux was initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in 2001. Ali Farka Touré was weakened with cancer when Vieux announced that he was going to record an album. Ali recorded a couple of tracks with him, and these recordings, which can be heard on Vieux’s debut CD, were amongst his final ones. It has been said that the senior Touré played rough mixes of these songs when people visited him in his final days, at peace with, and proud of, his son’s talent as a musician.

In 2005, Eric Herman (still Vieux’s manager today) of Modiba Productions expressed an interest in producing an album for Vieux; this led to Vieux’s self-titled debut album, released by World Village in 2007. Ali Farka Touré’s work to tackle the problem of malaria is continued as 10% of proceeds are donated to Modiba’s “Fight Malaria” campaign in Niafunké through which over 3000 mosquito nets have been delivered to children and pregnant women in the Timbuktu region of Mali. On this first album, Vieux pays homage to his father and follows Ali’s musical tradition, giving new versions of the West African music that is echoed in the American blues. The album features Toumani Diabaté, as well as his late father. One of the tracks, ‘Courage’, is on the soundtrack of the film The First Grader (2010).