Vieux Farka Toure - Hendrix of the Sahara for Rainbow Restaurant
The Alliance Française de Durban and the French Institute of Southern Africa presents one of the world’s rare musical talents and guitar virtuosos Malian-born Vieux Farka Toure at the Rainbow Restaurant on Sunday, January 20 at 3pm. The eKhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu will also present a workshop and press conference on Monday, January 21 from 11am.
Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Toure was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of the late legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Toure.
Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father disapproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed.
Vieux was initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in 2001. Ali Farka Touré was weakened with cancer at the time that Vieux announced that he was going to record an album. Ali recorded a couple of tracks with him, and these recordings, which can be heard on Vieux’s debut CD, 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.
Vieux’s self-titled debut album was released by World Village in 2007. On this first album, Vieux pays homage to his father and follows Ali’s musical tradition, giving new versions of the West African music that is echoed in the American blues. On his second album, Fondo on Six Degrees (2009), Vieux branched out and presented his own sound: while remaining true to the roots of his father’s music he uses elements of rock, Latin music, and other African influences.
In June 2010, Vieux performed at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. That month Vieux also released his first live album, LIVE. Then in 2011 Vieux released his 3rd studio album, The Secret which features South African-born vocalist Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks on electric slide guitar and jazz guitarist John Scofield.
In April 2012, Vieux released The Tel Aviv Session (Cumbancha), a collaborative project with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel dubbed ‘The Toure-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 Toure and Ry Cooder’s legendary Talking Timbuktu album.
“We are really pleased to be hosting one of the world’s top guitarists at the Rainbow Restaurant here in Durban.” says Sarah Doignon, Director of The Alliance Française de Durban. “Vieux is an exciting young voice of Africa that is described as rare and innovative whilst humbly paying homage to the past. We believe the concert will be a great opportunity for music lovers to indulge in the emotive rhythms of West African inspirations.”
His live performances are highly energized and Vieux is known for dazzling crowds with his speed and dexterity on the guitar, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile, both of which captivate audiences from all countries in spite of any language barriers (though Vieux does speak 8 languages).
Vieux will also be conducting a workshop at eKhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu on Monday, 21 January at 11am. The workshop will be approximately two hours in duration and is free. Besides demonstrating his guitar skills and talking about his musical influences, Toure will also address the very current issue of musical censorship in his native Mali where, in the north of the country, Tuareg and Islamist insurgents have taken control. The Islamist faction of Ansar Dine has imposed strict Sharia Law including bans on music - even the music of Malians like Toure senior and junior.
Anyone wanting to attend the workshop should book with Kwazi Ngubane on 0734429347.
The Rainbow concert starts at 3pm on Sunday, January 20. Doors will conditionally open at 1pm, dependent on the completion of a sound check by the band. Besides Toure on guitar, the group also features Mamadou Sidibe on bass guitar and Tim Keiper on drums and calabash.
Tickets for the concert are R50 at the door and can be pre-booked by phone on 083 706 2294 or 083 4638044 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.