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In the Heart of the Moon

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Editors’ Notes

Recorded in just a few sessions with no rehearsals, this GRAMMY®-winning 2006 album is a meeting of giants. The contrast should have been stark—Ali Farka Touré’s guitar speaks of Mali’s parched desert north, while notes spill from Toumani Diabaté’s kora like water in the fertile south—but, instead, it’s a strikingly fresh and spontaneous rendering of Bambara and Songhai classics. Touré sets aside his searing guitar style, finding sweetness in everything from the transcendent opener, “Debe,” to the delightful “Mayor of Niafunke.”

Customer Reviews

Loved it!

This is my very first exposure to African music. A friend of mine had recommended it a while ago and now that it got a Grammy as well, there was no second thought. I bought the album today (13 Feb 2006). I am amazed by this music - it is soft, vibrant, and consistent. It flows so effortlessly. Being a huge lover of Indian classical music - especially the Sitar (Ravi Shankar, Nikhil Banerjee), Santoor (Shivkumar Sharma, Rahul Sharma) and Sarod (Ali Akbar Khan, Amjad Ali Khan) - this music made an instant appeal to me. I think this genre is somewhere between the Western (the chords) and Indian (Raga music, based on fixed scales) styles - but unique and fresh with its own character. There are quite a few repititions but it never gets boring. And the absence of drums in some tracks doesn't create a void... Kora doubles up as a melody + rhythm instrument, something like how Santoor does. I sincerely recommend the whole album to everybody, especially for those who prefer peaceful / joyous music with no noisy elements. If you liked this album, you may try out a few albums by Shivkumar Sharma and Rahul Sharma as well - like 'The Elements - Water' and 'The Confluence - Santoor & Piano' - they follow a similar New Age / Thematic /Easy Listening pattern.

Gorgeous music

If you are accustomed to Ali Farka Toure, be prepared for something different -- something more unusual -- something more beautiful. Here Ali Farka Toure is paired with one of the great musicians from Mali, Toumani Diabate. Diabate plays the traditional African instrument - the cora. (If you are interested to see it, look it up on the internet) It has the sound of a harp mixed with a guitar. I've read that the music is entirely improvised. If so, it is a marvel of musicianship. The music is haunting, mystical, calming, and simply lovely. I've used it on my iPod to wake up to in the morning, and I've listened to it over and over as background music while working. If you like guitar music, I think you will like this album very much. Unfortunately, I could never download it from iTunes although I tried repeatedly, so I wound up ordering it from the local store.

Hear This Before You Die

Yep, the other reviewers are right. This is undeniably beautiful music. Incredibly vivid melodies that are simply not to be found in American music. Ali Farka Toure is a master guitarist and Toumani's wizardry on what sounds like an African sitar is nothing short of breathtaking. If you have taken the time to read this, trust me and buy any cut as a sample. I am confident you'll be hooked and thankful for your introduction to a new world of music. Then buy the rest and hunt down other Ali Farka Toure recordings (The River, The Source), and then other wonderful African musicians: Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Amadou and Miriam, Oliver Mtukudzi, and Issa Bagayogo to name a few. You've probably already heard of Youssou N'Dour. Highly recommended.


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...
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In the Heart of the Moon, Ali Farka Touré
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Customer Ratings