17 July 2013

17th July - Ali Farka Toure's Savane

Artist – Album: Ali Farka Toure - Savane
Released:  17th July 2006

Sounds Like: (Possibly) The Greatest World Music Album in the World... Ever!

Like all good people, I tend to think of world music as the preserve of leathery faced middle aged hippies, something to bore their less hippy-ish friends with alongside countless useless nick-nacks from other cultures (which are probably their equivalent of a “kiss me, I’m Irish” hat) and tales explaining how you’ve just got to visit such and such a place. But really... I love this stuff! Milton Nascimento’s ‘Clube de Esquina’ is my ringtone and his ‘Cravo e Canela’ performance on is still one of my favourite Youtube clips. Tinariwen’s ‘Matadjem Yinmixan’ is probably up there with my favourite songs of all time and the last album I bought was The Essential Cuban Anthology. Given that, next to Fela Kuti, Youssou N’Dour, Khaled and Toumani Diabete, Ali Farka Toure is one of Africa’s greatest artists of all time, I'm actually in for a bit of a flower child treat.

Savane was released posthumously in 2006 and was considered by the artist during recording to be the finest of his twenty plus recordings, and, you know, it ain’t half bad. Toure’s vocals are rough but sophisticated in the manner of many of the blues artists such as John Lee Hooker that are said to have been indirectly influenced by this style. Meanwhile, the songs float along their intricately plucked guitar spirals and melt into each other such that it’s difficult to distinguish one from another. But I’ll try, to satisfy my self-imposed word limit... ‘Beto’ is mesmerising and uplifting, ‘Soya’ is just gorgeous, and the title track, ‘Savane’ contains elements of reggae, another genre that originated in the Dark Continent.

It’s time for us to throw off our judgemental shackles that restrict us from listening to World Music – after all we’ve mostly done it with film, right? There’s a world of options out there (wahaay!), but you could certainly do worse than to get started with this.

Albumaday... rating: 7/10

1.       Erdi – 4:42
2.       Yer Bounda Fara – 4:18
3.       Beto – 4:49
4.       Savane – 7:43
5.       Soya – 4:38
6.       Penda Yoro – 5:25
7.       Machengoidi – 3:35
8.       Ledi Coumbe – 3:16
9.       Hanana – 2:34
10.   Soko Yhinka – 5:05
11.   Gambari Didi – 3:49
12.   Banga – 3:48
13.   N’Jarou – 4:55

Also released on the 17th July:
2001: Muse – Origin of Symmetry

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