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Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder

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Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré and American guitarist/producer Ry Cooder in 1995 joined forces to record the Grammy award-winning album Talking Timbuktu.
Talking Timbuktu is a groundbreaking record that vividly illustrates the Africa-Blues connection in real time. Ali Farka Toure, who was one of Mali’s leading singer-guitarists, has a trance-like, bluesy style that, although deeply rooted in Malian tradition, bears astonishing similarity to that of John Lee Hooker or even Canned Heat. It’s a mono-chordal vamp, with repetitive song lines cut with shards of blistering solo runs that shimmer like a desert mirage. Toure may be conversant with some blues artists, but it is unlikely that artists like Hooker or Robert Pete Williams ever heard these Malian roots, which makes the connection so uncanny. Ry Cooder, well versed in domestic and world guitar styles, is the perfect counterpoint in these extended songs/jams, his sinewy slide guitar intertwining with his partner’s in a super world summit without barriers or borders.

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