Friday, March 10, 2006

bought it for a friend...

i have a close friend who will be visiting the great country of africa this summer for a few months to study. i decided that i would buy her a tiny little present to get her in the mood for the trip, so off to the music store i went to look for the perfect african music compilation. as many know, the music of mali is all the rage these days, being constantly played on npr and the like...which is no suprise, because most of it is just wonderful. like most music stores, the selection of world music at the particular music shop that i chose was, 'slim' to say the least. but, only being a 'world music novice', myself, i suppose it wasn't really so bad. i had found the appropriate comp on the appropriate (and respected) world music label, then i noticed this quote written on the back of one of the cd's i had picked up: "The Motherland's modern day answer to John Lee Hooker." of course, i had to buy it, sound unheard.
it was the album "niafunke" by ali farka toure.
somehow, in my music travels, i had missed this amazing artist. i had no idea how amazing he was until i listened to the album when i got home (yes, it was a gift, and i opened it, shame on me...but i figured i would buy it myself if it was any good...and, how could i, in good conscience, give an album without first listening to it).
'african blues'...that's the label they've given it (the collective, musical 'they'). it's something all together different than what you might imagine that sounding like though. it's dark, and light, exotic and so heated and emotional...after i listen to the album, i almost feel like i should shower the desert dirt out of my hair.

when i went up to pay for the album, the lady at the counter told me that he had just passed away, the day before. what an odd time for me to discover his music, i thought. i would recommend that everyone take a listen to him at some point in your life, if you're not one of the many who already knew who he was. maybe you're not so much in the mood for malian blues at this point, but at some point, you really should. really.


Lloyd said...

I had him in my recommended listening list on the old blog. It's gone now. And so is he. And that's how it goes.

aprildawn said...

one of those names i always heard, but never actually picked up and listened to.
you're so cool lloyd.