Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré is one of the greatest living exponents of guitar Desert Blues and he is appearing at the Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, later this month.
Hailing from Niafunké, Vieux is the son of the late Malian guitar legend Ali Farka Touré.
Ali came from a historical tribe of soldiers and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens and he declared that he too wanted to be a musician, his father disapproved due to the pressures he had experienced. But with help from family friend, the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing.
Vieux was initially a drummer/calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in2001. Ali Farka Touré was weakened with cancer when Vieux announced that he was going to record an album in 2007. Vieux’s self-titled debut pays homage to his father and follows Ali’s musical tradition, giving new versions of West African music echoed in the American blues.
Ali recorded a couple of tracks with his son and these recordings were amongst his final ones. It has been said that the senior Touré played rough mixes of these songs when people visited him in his final days, at peace with, and proud of, his son’s talent as a musician.
On his second record, Fondo (2009), Vieux developed his own sound using elements of rock, Latin music, and other African influences, which received a great deal of critical acclaim. By June 2010, Vieux was performing at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Vieux’s collaborative project with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel resulted in The Tel Aviv Session, released in 2012. Hailed by fans and critics alike as one of the best collaborative albums in the history of international music, it drew comparisons to Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder’s legendary Talking Timbuktu album.
Increasingly recognised as one of the most innovative and exciting guitarists on the planet, Vieux’s new album, Samba is released in June – a mix of impressively diverse styles, covering dance-friendly desert rock, reggae and electric funk to haunting grooves, pulsing acoustic desert blues as well a touch of melancholic beauty.
Vieux Farka Toure is on stage at the Apex, on Sunday, June 18.
Tickets are £18, ring the box office on 01284 758000, or visit www.theapex.co.uk for more information, or to book your tickets.