Music

Truly a roots musician

Mali musician Vieux Farka Touré returns to Taos

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Local music promoter John Henderson has been watching Mali musician Vieux Farka Touré, referred to as "The Hendrix of the Sahara," for 10 years. Henderson said he feels like he's "seen the musician grow up, starting with a concert in 2009 where Touré was dressed in western clothes and rocked out."

Fast forward to 2014: Touré was dressed in traditional African clothing and paid homage to his famous father, the legendary Malian guitar player, Ali Farka Touré. Henderson said he is very excited for the show Saturday (April 21), 7 p.m., at Taos Mesa Brewing's Mothership, 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west. Tickets are $20, available at TMB and online at tickets.holdmyticket.com/tickets/300917

After a stunning performance in Los Angeles, The L.A. Times said, "The Malian singer-guitarist Vieux Farka Touré plays desert blues with a personal charisma and technical finesse that have led some reviewers to dub him the North African Jimi Hendrix. It's a useful, facile handle for Western listeners. But in his edgy, exploratory hourlong Thursday night set at the Satellite, Touré summoned the tender, reflective Hendrix of "Little Wing" and "The Wind Cries Mary" more than the raunchy, insinuating belter of "Foxy Lady.""

Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. His father, Ali Farka Touré, came from a historical tribe of soldiers and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Touré was in his teens, history repeated itself. He declared his desire to be a musician to his father who, like his own father, wanted him to become a soldier instead.

Touré started his career as a drummer and calabash player at Mali's Institut National des Arts. He released his first self-titled debut album through World Village in 2007.

On the record, Touré pays homage to his father and follows his musical tradition, giving new versions of the West African music that is echoed in the American blues. The album features Toumani Diabaté as well as his late father. The album was well received internationally, and Touré has clearly moved out of his father's shadow.

In 2011, Touré released his third studio album, "The Secret," produced by guitarist Eric Krasno (of the Soulive trio) and features South African-born vocalist Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks on electric slide guitar and jazz guitarist John Scofield. The title track was the last collaboration between Touré and his late father. "The Secret" established Touré as a guitar virtuoso with a unique style steeped in tradition with a modern twist.

He later released "The Tel Aviv Session" (Cumbancha) in April 2012, a collaborative project with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel, dubbed "The Touré-Raichel Collective" that has been hailed by fans and critics alike as a masterpiece and one of the best collaborative albums in the history of international music, drawing comparisons to Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder's legendary album "Talking Timbuktu".

By 2013, the album Mon Pays was released as an homage to his homeland. Two songs on the project "Future" and "Peace" feature Sidiki Diabate's kora complemented by Touré's intricate guitar work. Mon Pays has helped solidify Touré's place as one of this generation's most exciting artists to come out of Mali and one of world music's rising stars.

His most recent album, "Samba," was recorded live at Applehead Studio in Woodstock, New York and released last year. John Schaefer of National Public Radio called the work "brilliant." The album is already being hailed by critics as Touré's finest, most well-rounded, and mature album to date.

Back in Mali, Touré does humanitarian work with his group, AMAHREC SAHEL. "We try to do something and help those in need who are in Mali and the entire Sahel region. AMAHREC SAHEL is an action for humanitarian reconstruction and culture for the Sahel."

Las Cruces-based musician, C.W. Ayon will open the show.

He is described on his website as a performer who "hails from New Mexico, but his soul lives in the grooves of the Mississippi Hill Country. With a rather simple kick-snare and tambourine setup, he lays down solid beats while picking out catchy hooks on anything from acoustic to resonator guitars. Sometimes dropping in a bit of harmonica for good measure. All the while building a sound and style that is deceptively larger than it seems."

Henderson saw him perform in Hatch, thought he'd be a great opening act for Touré and hopes they collaborate on stage.

Tickets are $20, available at the door and online at tickets.holdmyticket.com/tickets/300917. For more information, call (575) 758-1900 or visit taosmesabrewing.com.

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