Vieux Farka Touré

It may be ironic to be named Vieux ("old" en français) when you’re the young heir to the brilliant sub-Sahara blues-guitar stylings of the late Ali Farka Touré. And even more so if you’re taking that distinctive sound--Mali entwined with the Mississippi Delta--in a fresh, decidedly modern direction. But Vieux Farka Touré is taking it all in stride, and his second album, Fondo (Six Degrees) leaps out of the shadow of his illustrious father (which dominated Vieux’s 2006 debut) by updating Ali’s arid, spare, entrancing groove with dashes of reggae, dub, and electric-guitar-fueled raves that sound like exotic twists from the jam-band circuit. In fact, Vieux’s electric work dominates Fondo, whose songs (all originals except the traditional "Walé”) include a lyrical duet with kora virtuoso Toumani Diabaté but tend toward rock intensity. On the incendiary "Chérie Lé," for instance, Vieux takes the terse, clustered phrases characteristic of Ali and expands them into blistering, scrambling forays over a thrashing drum kit and electric bass, while the anthemic "Fafa" is full of majestic blues-rock phrases. "Diaraby Magni," meanwhile, lurches to a classic reggae beat while Vieux peppers it with dashing, eloquent guitar phrases and yearning vocals. It’s the sound of a young man with a mature soul establishing himself as a major artist. (photo by Laura Williams)
Thu., June 25, 7 p.m., 2009

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