Vieux Farka Touré: Acoustic - An intimate evening with the Malian guitar master & percussionist Mamadou Kone on calabash (seated)

Vieux Farka Touré: Acoustic - An intimate evening with the Malian guitar master & percussionist Mamadou Kone on calabash (seated)

Walter Strauss & Mamadou Sidibe

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

General Admission Seating: $24 Advance/$28 Day of show (plus fees)

This event is all ages

Vieux Farka Touré
Vieux Farka Touré
Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006. 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 when 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.

In 2005, Eric Herman (still Vieux’s manager today) of Modiba Productions expressed an interest in producing an album for Vieux; this led to Vieux’s self-titled debut album, released by World Village in 2007. Ali Farka Touré’s work to tackle the problem of malaria is continued as 10% of proceeds are donated to Modiba’s “Fight Malaria” campaign in Niafunké through which over 3000 mosquito nets have been delivered to children and pregnant women in the Timbuktu region of Mali. 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. The album features Toumani Diabaté, as well as his late father. One of the tracks, ‘Courage’, is on the soundtrack of the film The First Grader (2010).

On his second record, 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. The album received a great deal of critical acclaim from across the globe, and Vieux was clearly moving out of his father’s shadow.

By June 2010, Vieux was performing at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. That month Vieux also released his first live album, LIVE. 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 audiences in spite of any language barriers (though Vieux does speak 8 languages).

In 2011 Vieux released his 3rd studio album, The Secret, so named because the listener will hear the secret of the blues with a blend of generations from father to son. It was 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 is the last collaboration between Vieux and his late father. With the heralded release of The Secret, Vieux Farka Touré has clearly established himself as one of the world’s rare musical talents and guitar virtuosos with a distinct style that always pays homage to the past while looking towards the future.

Vieux 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 Talking Timbuktu album.

In 2013, Vieux Farka Touré’s beautiful and critically acclaimed latest album Mon Pays was released as an homage to his homeland. Being that his native Mali had recently been splintered by territorial fighting between Tuareg and Islamic rebels since January 2012, Mon Pays was devoted to reminding the world about the beauty and culture of his native Mali. Translated as ‘My Country,’ this predominantly acoustic undertaking transformed into an artifact of cultural preservation. Two songs on the project -Future’ and ‘Peace’ feature Sidiki Diabate’s kora leading an emotional charge complemented by Touré’s spectacular guitar work. Both tracks represent an important generational “passing of the torch” as Sidiki’s father, Toumani is considered one of the greatest living kora masters and was a close friend of Vieux’s father Ali. Mon Pays has been widely hailed as the most mature and lovely record yet from one of this generation’s most exciting artists to come out of Mali and one of world music’s true rising stars.

Vieux reunited with Idan Raichel in Paris to record, release and subsequently tour their 2nd collaborative album as The Touré-Raichel Collective in 2014. The result was yet another musical and critical triumph, titled 'The Paris Session' (Cumbancha) revered by many as not just a musical gem for the ages but a powerful testimonial to the power of art and fraternity to transcend vast cultural and political divides. In 2015, Vieux released another unexpected, genre-bending collaborative album, this time with New York-based singer Julia Easterlin, aptly titled 'Touristes'. The album shot to the top of the iTunes World chart and earned critical acclaim, including that of John Schaefer (NPR) who called it "brilliant." On April 7, 2017, Vieux released his latest album 'Samba', recorded live in front of a small audience at Applehead Studio in Woodstock, NY. The album is already being hailed by critics as Vieux's finest, most well-rounded and mature album to date. With each new project, Vieux expands his horizons, embraces new challenges and further entrenches his reputation as one of the world’s most talented and innovative musicians.
Mahamadou Kone
Mahamadou Kone
Percussionist from Mali.
Walter Strauss & Mamadou Sidibe
Walter Strauss & Mamadou Sidibe
Two continents meet:
West African hunter’s harp and fingerstyle guitar

When American guitarist Walter Strauss and Malian kamale ngoni player Mamadou Sidibe engage in a musical interplay of finger-style guitar and West African hunter’s harp, the result is a deep, soulful music that is simultaneously ancient and fresh. They create an intoxicating blend through intertwining melodic grooves, spirited improvisation, and songs in two languages.

To hear these two musicians from far flung places collaborate is to take in two souls, listening and greeting one another in a universal language – seamlessly interweaving two continents and two bright musical sensibilities.

Mamadou Sidibe played a major role in transforming the popular Wassoulou music of Mali. He was one of the first to break with tradition by creating the now widely used eight-string kamale ngoni, a lute-harp-like instrument that exudes a deep, soulful sound. Mamadou broadened the songs from sacred hunters melodies to a popular music of philosophical observations, politics and daily African life. Stylus magazine calls his music, “an almost seamless blend of blues licks and African rhythms. At the center of his music is the same sensibility that you’ll find in Muddy Waters: a sense of music as a tool for the re-creation of everyday life into something special, even magical.”

Mamadou has toured with Malian greats Oumou Sangare, Coumba Sidibe, and Toumani Diabate in Africa, Europe and the US. Since settling on the west coast, he’s garnered various awards, including Grand Prize at the John Lennon Songwriting Competition (World Music), Winner of the Billboard Songwriting Contest (World Category), and Winner of Global Rhythm Magazine Song Contest.

Walter Strauss began collaborating with West African musicians in the late 90’s, when he and Grammy-winning Malian kora player Mamadou Diabate ventured on a cross-cultural collaboration that resulted in several groundbreaking duo tours. Known for his syncopated and richly textured playing, he started combining elements of West African & other global music traditions with his roots and jazz inspired foundations. Walter began transposing the multi-layered music of the kora, the 21-string West African harp, to guitar, creating mind-bending renditions of this music which famed kora player Toumani Diabate calls “inspirational”. He layers on highly articulated melodies and harmonies, rhythms and counter-rhythms, creating an impression he is playing multiple instruments at once. Informed by over a decade of rendering music of international instruments to the guitar, Walter’s unique style integrates their exotic fabrics and timbres, and “hints at places the guitar has never before ventured” (Northern Sky).
Walter performs internationally, both solo and in collaborations with artists as varied as Malian kora player Mamadou Diabate, American guitarist Alex de Grassi, and Scottish fiddler Jonny Hardie. His recent journey to West Africa spawned a duo collaboration with Grammy-nominated kora player Sidiki Diabate, the son of Toumani Diabate.
Venue Information:
Sweetwater Music Hall
19 Corte Madera Ave.
Mill Valley, CA, 94941
http://www.sweetwatermusichall.com/