Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Rest in Peace: Ali Farka Toure 1939-2006

Crossposted from Scrutiny Hooligans.

CNN is reporting "The renowned African musician Ali Farka Toure has died after a long illness, Mali's Culture Ministry said. He was in his late 60s.

Mali's Culture Ministry said Toure died Tuesday at his home in the capital, Bamako, after a long struggle with an unidentified illness, the ministry.

Toure, one of Africa's most famous performers, played a traditional Malian stringed instrument called the gurke.

He was best-known overseas for his 1995 collaboration with American guitarist Ry Cooder on "Talking Timbuktu," which netted him his first of two Grammys.

He won another Grammy this year in the traditional world music album category for his "In the Heart of the Moon" album, performed with fellow Malian Toumani Diabate."

Read the rest of the article.

While living in New York City in the early 2000's, I had an opportunity to see Ali Farka Toure play at Town Hall, a grand old hall for music lovers. I jumped at the chance to see him, having his two albums Talking Timbuktu and The Source in constant rotation for many years.

The concert was excellent, the music magical, and the scene harmonious. Toure' spoke to the crowd in French the entire time, and though many in the audience spoke French as responded to him, the rest did not; however, Toure' was so animated that despite not speaking the language, we could tell he was joking with us, and the audience even laughed at the punchlines. What a night! Several years later in North Carolina, in an old railroad baron lodge in the hills, I was speaking to a stranger from New York City and we were comparing notes about great shows we'd seen in the city; the Town Hall Toure show was one of them.

A great light has gone out!

Thank you for the music, Ali Farka Toure.

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