laura lee

Touré holds his Godin LGXSA, which he says has an even response across all 6 strings, which is perfect for his fingerstyle technique. “I have to have the acoustic sound and the electric sound together,” he says. “It’s a very cool guitar. It gives me my sound.”

Photo by Kiss Diouara

On a transcendent pair of albums, the preeminent Malian guitarist takes on his country’s musical tradition and teams up with the bewigged psychedelic Texans to pay tribute to his father, Ali Farka Touré.

“You know what’s happening in Mali, right?” Vieux Farka Touré casually asked a sweaty crowd at Philadelphia’s World Café Live this spring. It was a brief aside in a propulsive set that had little downtime. Rather than elaborate, he quickly led his trio into the next pulsating song. It was a short interruption tossed out in the same low-key style as his other more routine between-song banter, but an indicator that Touré wasn’t there just to entertain. He was on a mission.

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