Vieux Farka Touré embraced the challenges of performing under the shadow of his father, legendary desert blues Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré, and the moniker “The Hendrix of the Sahara” since starting his musical life in 2001 as the drummer/calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts while secretly playing guitar. One of Mali’s most inventive and adventurous artists (that’s saying a lot, given that country’s impressive musical output), his music slowly unwinds, layering rhythms and overlapping melodies, driven by deft fingerpicking.
From his solo output, including his inaugural West African-meets-American-blues album that paid homage to his father alongside Malian kora master Toumani Diabaté, he has stretched and bent boundaries with international collaborators. Among them are Israeli composer and pianist Idan Raichel, jazz guitarist John Scofield and experimental US vocalist Julia Easterlin. His latest, Ali, has Vieux and Houston-based psych-rock innovators Khruangbin (a musical union apparently sealed in a London pub over fish and chips) joining forces to pay homage to his father by reimagining eight of his songs.
Each new project broadens his horizons, embraces new challenges and entrenches his musical reputation. If that’s not enough, the multi-lingual (8 languages!) Vieux works from a studio he built in his family’s compound, and his charity Amahrec Sahel supports humanitarian reconstruction and culture, provides school supplies and musical instruments and supports an orphanage in Bamako.
Biography by Kerry Clarke