A good friend was telling me of her excitement at being given a signed CD by Vieux Farka Toure the other day, and I realised I hadn't done that much digging in to Malian music. It's probably because I want to go there so much to experience it first hand. Part of me finds it hard to believe Griots are real and they still exist. This post is a little dig of mine which got slightly out of hand...
Ali Ibrahim “Farka” Touré (October 31, 1939 – March 7, 2006) was a legendary singer and guitarist - known as the "father of the Malian blues". Farka is actually a nickname which means donkey (an animal admired for its hardyness in Mali).
Vieux Farka Toure is Ali's son, and although he might be "heir to his talent", he has a style all his own...
Afel Bocoum began his career in Ali Farka Toure's group ASCO as a 13 year old aoorentice, and went on to become a singer and guitarist. He also has a group called Alkibar.
Toumani Diabaté is a kora player, and his family's oral tradition tells of 71 generations of musicians.
Habib Koité is a singer and guitarist, "known primarily for his unique approach to playing the guitar by tuning it on a pentatonic scale and playing on open strings as one would on a kamale n'goni." This video is of him performing with his "West African super-group" Bamada.
Salif Keita, the Golden Voice of Africa is a singer songwriter, and possibly one of Malis most famous. He is actually a direct descendant of the founder of the Mali empire, Sundiata Keita (which means he is a noble and shouldn't be a performer, the role of the griot).
Oumou Sangare is a Wassoulou musician and was actually a well known singer by the age of 5.
No introduction needed because there can't be anyone in left who doesn't know about Amadou and Mariam...
Rokia Traoré is an amazing singer, songwriter and guitarist. She also comes from nobility but pursued music, and has gone on to work with the Kronos Quartet and create innovative multi-media live shows (catch one if you get the chance!).
Let me know if you want to come with me, because I'm going.