Back to basics: The blues with Ali Farka Touré

“The blues tells a story. Every line of the blues has a meaning.” ~John Lee Hooker

Ali Farka Touré was born near Timbuktu in Mali, West Africa in 1939. He’s known for his electric guitar style which was his own unique blend of Malian folk styles and American blues. He had a hypnotic droning style often compared to John Lee Hooker, though I find him more similar to the style of North Mississippi bluesman Junior Kimbrough. Below I’ve included videos from both. The world lost Ali in 2006, but his spirit lives on through his music, musicians he influenced, and his son Vieux Farka Touré, who while carrying the seeds of his father’s music, is forging his own musical identity.

Here’s Ali telling American musician Corey Harris his thoughts on the African diaspora. This is from a Martin Scorcese documentary on the Blues that ran on PBS a few years ago. Corey Harris went on to record an excellent album on Rounder Records, Mississippi To Mali, to which there is a link below:

Here’s North Mississippi Hill Country blues hero Junior Kimbrough with “Sad Days, Lonely Nights.” He’s been a major influence on groups like North Mississippi All Stars and The Black Keys. His hypnotic style is very similar to Touré :

Here’s John Lee Hooker and Bonnie Raitt with “I’m In The Mood.” Dang he’s a boss!

Back soon with more roots music…in the meantime, don’t forget about the blues!

Links & Resources:
Mississippi To Mali by Corey Harris
Vieux Farka Touré
Ali Farka Touré
Junior Kimbrough
John Lee Hooker


    • Thanks K! I love Ali as well… He has so many great records, it was hard to choose the videos..


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