With a recent promise of Songs from the Past I spent some time looking back through our audio library which was very time consuming but a nostalgic experience. I came across this: Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder – Talking Timbuktu. I can remember having this on tape cassette, you remember those don’t you? They are still about and are making a new comeback in some areas of music with limited edition runs. But that’s another topic for another post.
Talking Timbuktu was the 1994 (or ’95, depending on what you read) Grammy award-winning collaboration between Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder. It’s a timeless classic that sounds as great today as it did on release. The collaboration was great for many reasons; both Cooder and Touré were known for their innovative guitar playing, and for me, it was a pivitol moment for World Music which was proven by its longevity as the number one album in Billboard Magazine’s world music charts. The two musicians hit it off and managed to produce the album in just three days. Cooder’s added western sound alongside Touré made this a palatable offering for many who had never explored World Music.
Although a number of American blues artists travelled to Touré’s homeland in search of their musical roots in the 1960’s it was John Lee Hooker that made the biggest impression as he mentiones in the video below. When he first heard Hooker, he heard the same music but recognised the difference as well.
The first time I heard John Lee Hooker I heard this music, but I said, “I don’t understand this, where did they come up with this culture?” This is something that belongs to us. But it’s different. Because he had to play to make a living. Otherwise these tunes are made neither for whiskey, nor scotch, nor beer.
“For some people, when you say ‘Timbuktu’ it is like the end of the world, but that is not true. I am from Timbuktu, and I can tell you we are right at the heart of the world.” Ali Farka Toure
I love the whole album, but if I was forced to choose just one track, it would be Amandrai. The guitar playing just melts together and it’s the track I remember playing most.
Having said that Diaraby was a close contester as well…damn
– Tracklisting –
1. “Bonde” – 5:28
2. “Soukora” – 6:05
3. “Gomni” – 7:00
4. “Sega” – 3:10
5. “Amandrai” – 9:22
6. “Lasidan” – 6:06
7. “Keito” – 5:42
8. “Banga” – 2:32
9. “Ai Du” – 7:09
10. “Diaraby” – 7:25
Buy from: Amazon UK |