For this Thursday, I bring you music from two favorites of mine. Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate are absolute legengs in Africa, both hailing from Mali.
Below are the two tracks followed by some explanatory text of why the music is so good. Just click on the link to listen or right click to download.
Diabate is descended from griots; Ali Farka Toure is not. Diabate is from the south of Mali around Bamako; Ali Farka Toure is from the arid north around Timbuktu. They met and recorded an album (relatively soon before Ali Farka Toure died) called In the Heart of the Moon. It is a classic and an album that serves as a perfect introduction to the music of West Africa.
It is hard not to tap your foot and imagine a summer dusk when listening. Jen and I would drive all around the rural areas of central New Jersey in the summer with the windows down, this music playing, and we felt our imagination take hold. Excellent music. Below is some explanatory text for the album:
“The duet album, In the Heart of the Moon, brings together two different traditions in Malian music. Toure plays rural desert blues and comes from the Sonrai tradition of Northern Mali, while Diabate, a griot, is influenced by the Mande tradition of Southern Mali that dates back to the thirteenth century.
The two artists found common ground by recording music from the 1950s and 1960s that developed during Mali’s struggle for independence from France. Recorded in just six hours, In the Heart of the Moon is, according to an Irish Times correspondent, “stunning by virtue of its relative simplicity and subtlety,” and the album was deemed by All Music Guide‘s Thom Jurek as “nothing short of remarkable.”