Monday, October 30, 2006

Ali Farka Toure--Savane (2006)

Artist-Ali Farka Toure
Release Date-Jul 25, 2006
Label-Nonesuch/World Circuit
Genre/Style-World/Ethnic Fusion/African Folk

Entertainment Weekly Rating-100(Out 0f 100)
Observer Music Monthly-100
The Guardian-100
Stylus Magazine-100
New Musical Express-80

Personal Rating-Recommended strongly. Many critics said that this album's the best one in 2006. Don't you believe that? Just download it.

Review-Savane, the great African guitarist and bluesman Ali Farka Touré's final solo studio album, was recorded in his native Mali toward the end of his life, when the artist knew his days were numbered. He spent his last years in his home village of Niafunké, concentrating on farming and family matters, jamming with local musicians of an evening. This impassioned, roots-drenched, mostly acoustic valedictory finds the Maestro's stalking rhythms and high-noon-at-the-crossroads, dusty desert-to-delta vocals in no less than life-summing form. "Soya" (track 5) seems to stand still in a million directions, while "Hanana Soko" (track 9) features a searing njarka fiddle spinning delirious circles around its throaty accompanying percussion. Pee Wee Ellis (sax) and Little George Sueref (harmonica) each manage to make strong impressions while adhering to the groove at hand. Afel Boucoum, a talented younger musician who has been mentioned as Touré's most likely successor (as if such a thing were possible!), graces "Njarou," the last tune. The other players are also at the top of their game, as fluttering ngoni (a West African spike lute) riffs weave in and out and airy female vocals float like a breeze off the river Niger. There are reports that Touré senior sat in on his son's upcoming album and scads of archival material will undoubtedly materialize. But his unsentimental, voluptuously masculine, spirit-guided magic is captured at its best, for all time, in this magnificent farewell. --Christina Roden

Chart Information-
Year Album Chart Peak
2006 Savane Top World Music Albums 2


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