Songhaï folk singer Sidi Touré has been regularly compared to the giant Ali Farka Touré, the John Lee Hooker of Africa. Sidi Touré hails from the medieval city of Gao and is the winner of two Malian national awards for best singer; songwriter and guitarist.
The signature blues-inflected guitar and plaintive vocal melisma of Songhaï folk music carries melodic and repertory characteristics that extend from Ibrahim Dicko – Touré’s mentor – to Ali Fakra Touré’s pioneering work. Over the course of two recordings – last year’s critically-lauded Koïma and his revelatory debut Sahel Folk – and attention from Songlines, NPR, MOJO, among others, Touré’s musical identity has fully come into its own.
This September, Touré returns with Alafia, his third international release for Thrill Jockey Records and his most focused recording to date. Recorded between two locations – Nantes, France and Bamako, Mali – during what has become the most contentious political impasse for Mali since the country’s independence decades ago, Alafia mirrors the dramatic nature of the situation.