Following the Foot Steps of Greatness: Vieux Farka Touré

06/01/2009

No child seamlessly follows the same career path of their parents without being compared, but Vieux Farka Touré continues to establish himself as a reputable artist independent of his ubiquitous surname. As the son of Mali blue’s great Ali Farka Touré who was considered by some as “the African John Lee Hooker” for his entrancing guitar rhythms and style, Vieux made a name for himself in 2006 with his self-titled debut album. Like his father, Vieux’s music is rooted in the natural connection between African and American blues, but unsurprisingly for a self-proclaimed fan of Wilco, Dirty Projectors and Skatallites, his music moves further by incorporating contemporary styles of reggae, dub, and rock.

The term “world music” can be loosely defined, especially in regards to African music, as Africa is argued as the birthplace for most contemporary styles. Accordingly it is difficult to label Vieux’s new album Fondo as it combines essential Malian blues with other contemporary forms. With “Fafa,” the first track on the album, Vieux quickly roots himself in the Malian blue’s style, with enthralling pentatonic guitar riffs which his father mastered. Yet where “Fafa” feels familiar, “Sarama” moves into new ground with a quick percussive tempo that resonates like “western” rock. On the aptly titled “Slow Jam,” the song moves coolly with the instrumentation, furthering distancing himself from his father whose vocals would typically been center point.

With Fondo, Vieux plays with an elegance that is reminiscent of his father, while also successfully creating a style uniquely his. While some of the Marley’s live off their surname, creating music that lacks artistic talent, with another successful album Vieux establishes himself as a true contemporary talent with a promising future.

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