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Crocodile Blues

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Album Review

Mali's Samba Touré has been hailed as keeping the spirit of the late Ali Farka Touré alive in his music (his first global release was an homage to the man), and there are some similarities in his playing, especially with the guitar on track "Yermakoye," with its spare, dry sound in the single-note picking. One of the great differences is that this Touré draws his influences from all over the country, rather than focusing on the sound of a single area, as Ali Farka did. This leads to something more varied, like "Moussoya," where the great Wassoulou singer Oumou Sangare lends a hand in the call for national unity. Working with bass, n'goni, percussion, and drums, Touré shows himself to be a formidable songwriter and a seasoned performer, able to convey a mood. Above all, he's a superb guitarist, whether on electric or acoustic, with very fleet fingers, but never flashy, every note contributing to the mood or the flow of the song. The instrumental "White Crocodile Blues" shows his prowess on the instrument with its simple, hypnotic lines, while on "Takamba," his knotty little electric lines are a joy, and the upbeat, gently rocking power of "Bereï" has an easy propulsion that sets the feet tapping. What this disc proves isn't so much that he's inherited the mantle of Ali Farka Touré but that he's emerging from that shadow with his own sound.

Crocodile Blues, Samba Touré
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  • £7.99
  • Genres: World, Music
  • Released: 30 August 2011

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