Update July 1, 2013
A little taste of Vieux last night at Toronto's Harbourfront in concert:
From a media release:
Vieux Farka Touré
Mon Pays – May 28 2013 on Six Degrees Records
VIEUX FARKA TOURÉ PAY TRIBUTE TO MALI ON MON PAYS
His homeland in crisis, Touré responds with music
‘I wanted to pay homage to our musical heritage,’ says a reflective Vieux Farka Touré. Being that his native Mali has been splintered by territorial fighting between Tuareg and Islamic rebels since January 2012, his new album, Mon Pays (Six Degrees Records), is devoted to reminding the world about the beauty and culture of his homeland.
‘For me it is a statement for the world that this land is for the sons and daughters of Mali, not for Al Qaeda or any militants. This land is for peace and beauty, rich culture and tolerance.This is our heritage, what we must always fight to protect in any way that we can. For me, that means making music that reminds the world of who we are.’
Translating as ‘My Country,’ this predominantly acoustic undertaking had been planned before the invasions began. Inspired by his work with Israeli pianist and vocalist Idan Raichel, Touré initially went into a Bamako studio to honor the acoustic blues tradition of Northern and Southern Mali. Since that time, Mon Pays transformed into an artifact of cultural preservation.
The conflict in Mali includes a ban on music and a resurgence of slavery. Touré speaks directly to such tragedies on ‘Yer Gando.’ With its call-and-response style vocals and Souleyman Kane’s calabash rhythm, the song warns of foreign invaders robbing Mali of its heritage. Similarly, he declares that his nation belongs to every citizen on ‘Kele Magni.’
Two songs with English titles—‘Future’ and ‘Peace’—are directly inspired by this situation. The instrumental gems feature Sidiki Diabate’s kora leading an emotional charge complemented by Touré’s spectacular guitar work, as well as subtle percussion flourishes by Tim Keiper.
Both of these songs represent an important generational shift—Sidiki’s father, Toumani, was a close friend of Vieux’s father Ali. Their two records together, In the Heart of the Moon and Ali and Toumani, were awarded Grammies. At the 2011 ceremonies, Vieux accepted the prestigious award for his father, who had recently passed from bone cancer.
‘The most important thing is for the people of Mali to remember that whatever is happening now, we all have a future and it is up to us to create it today,’ Touré says. ‘‘Peace’ is quite simple and speaks for itself. There is nothing more important to our country.’
The young guitarist remembers his father on ‘Safare,’ written by the elder Touré. He pays homage to a family friend by reinventing the traditional folk song, ‘Diack So.’ One of his favorites from the abundant African catalog, the sweet melody was not the only thing that drew him in.
‘It is a homage to the great Diack So, who was a singer and guitarist from my father’s generation who was destroyed by alcohol. I feel like it is similar to the music of the north being destroyed by the Islamists. Mostly, I wanted to preserve his memory and pay tribute to him.’
June 23, 2013 @ Performance Works, Vancouver, BC, Canada
June 24, 2013 @ Sugar Nightclub, Victoria, BC, Canada
June 25 & 26, 2013 @ Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA
June 27, 2013 @ The Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, WA
June 28, 2013 @ Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR
June 30, 2013 @ Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
July 1, 2013 @ Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa, ON, Canada
July 3, 2013 @ Club Soda, Montreal, QC, Canada
July 5, 2013 @ Iron Horse, Northampton, MA
July 6, 2013 @ Higher Ground, South Burlington, VT
July 9, 2013 @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN
July 10,2013 @ Vaudeville Mews, Des Moines, IA
July 11, 2013 @ La Fete de Marquette, Madison, WI
July 13, 2013 @ Yoshis, San Francisco, CA
July 12, 2013 @ Levitt Pavilion, Pasadena, CA
July 14, 2013 @ California WorldFest, Grass Valley, CA
August 2 & 3, 2013 @ Pickathon, Happy Valley, OR
August 4, 2013 @ Crestone Music Festival, Crestone, CO
August 6, 2013 @ Walnut Room, Denver, CO
August 7, 2013 @ JAS Cafe Downstairs At The Nell, Aspen, CO
Mon Amour with the Idan Raichel Project