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Editors’ Notes

In 2005, the late guitarist Ali Farka Touré and the kora player Toumani Diabaté released In the Heart of the Moon, which went on to win a GRAMMY Award. It turns out that the two Malian musicians got together to record more tracks after the success of their duo debut; 2010’s excellent (and finely produced) Ali & Toumani draws from those sessions. The pair provides a feast of plucked tones and entrancing rhythms, and at times they are accompanied by the late Cuban bassist Orlando “Cachaíto” Lopez, backing vocals, and percussion. On “Ruby,” Farka Touré’s strums and riffs nicely complement Diabaté’s ornamented runs. The Cuban-inflected “Sabu Yerkoy” finds Lopez’s bass, Vieux Farka Touré’s congas, and three singers backing up Ali Farka Touré’s appealingly mellow lead vocals. The guitar and kora interlock in exquisite ways on the gentle waltz, “Be Mankan,” and “Warbé” is a West African blues whose groove is deepened by head-nodding bass and conga. The mysterious “Machengoidi” has a timeless, stately quality; the piece evokes court music and highly refined conversation.

Customer Reviews

Spiritual and a Must

The late Malian guitar legend Ali Farka Toure joins kora great Toumani Diabate for this musical journey. The second outing of the duo and an excellent follow-on to Toumani's last standout album, the recording was bluesman Ali's last. It is lyrical in it's phrasing, spiritual in it's depths, and an eloquent homage to the griots of Mali's south. For home, for office, for background or simply to relax, tunes that lift you and strings that carry you forward on a cloud. The opener is a simple nod from Ali to Toumani's five year old daughter Ruby. Lovely. We miss you, Ali, and thank you, Toumani, for this sweet recording. From Mali and Africa to our ears with joy.

Beyond Belief

I bought "In The Heart Of The Moon" by chance at a Barnes and Noble bookstore a year or so ago. I loved it right away. But something always seemed to be missing from those sessions. Ali & Toumani was what was missing. This recording is simply incredible...even upon first listening. The liner notes don't lie...the musicians really "merged" on this outing. It sounds fresh and very creative...not as repetitive as the first. If this is the only Maii recording you ever won't regret it.

Stunning performances.

You'd have to be an idiot to leave this record out of your already great collection of world guitar music.


Born: 1939 in Timbuktu

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the most internationally successful West African musicians of the '90s, Ali Farka Touré was described as "the African John Lee Hooker" so many times that it probably began to grate on both Touré's and Hooker's nerves. There is a lot of truth to the comparison, however, and it isn't exactly an insult. The guitarist, who also played other instruments such as calabash and bongos, shared with Hooker (and similar American bluesmen like Lightnin' Hopkins) a predilection for low-pitched vocals and...
Full Bio
Ali & Toumani, Ali Farka Touré
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Customer Ratings