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Sahel Folk

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Like Ali Farka Touré, Malian singer/guitarist Sidi Touré plays Songhai Blues. On 2011’s Sahel Folk, Sidi is joined by a number of guests: guitarist/vocalists Dourra Cisse, Jiba Touré (who passed away in 2010), and Yehiya Arby; Jambala Maiga, who plays kuntigui, a monochord guitar; and Douma Maiga, who plays kurbu, a three-string guitar. Each track is a duet, and all the cuts were captured on either the first or the second take. On the opener, “Bon Koum,” Sidi and Dourra’s gentle vocals unfurl over steady, hypnotic guitar patterns; at one point the song shifts and accelerates, with the vocalists nicely playing off of each other. Jiba appears on “Adema,” introducing vocals that are more forceful and that possess a more obvious Islamic influence. “Taray Kongo” clocks in at nearly ten minutes, and features the wonderful kuntigui playing of Jambala. “Haallah” is another one of the album’s gems; here Yehiya’s deep-toned voice is spotlighted as it’s backed by what may be Sahel Folk’s most entrancing riffs. Jiba returns for the closer, “Artiatanat,” which is sung in Tamasheq, the language of the Touareg.


Born: 1959 in Gao, Mali

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Sidi Touré is somewhat well known in his native Mali as much for his family's name and royal lineage as for his music. Touré, much like fellow countryman Ali Farka Touré (though he is from Gao, not Bamako), plays an original droning kind of songhai blues. Songhai is the language of his native Gao. He was born in 1959. He created his first guitar when still a child, but his royal family, who had often been sung about in their ancient town, had never produced an actual...
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Sahel Folk, Sidi Touré
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