Album Review: Ali & Toumani by Ali Farka Toure And Toumani Diabate
Fantastic, Based on 5 Critics
The Guardian - 100 Based on rating 5/5
The summer of 2005 was a productive but painful time for the late Ali Farka Touré. The great Malian guitarist came to London in the company of the kora star Toumani Diabaté to give a concert and record what would be their final album together. Touré was seriously ill, but he was still on tremendous form – as can be judged from this album. It's a set that's remarkable both for the delicacy and composure of the playing, and the sheer variety.
There are usually two distinctive types of posthumous releases in music. The first and more frequent is the one that makes you cringe, often involving the rapacious pillaging of the vaults, foisting unfinished or unworthy product on a (mostly) unsuspecting public. Of course the unearthing of an occasional gem (sometimes) compensates for the smattering of detritus an artist never intended to allow into the world, and for good reason.
Ali Farka Touré died in 2006. He lived a long and productive life, giving a great deal of marvelous recorded music to the world, seeking ways to bridge the regional musical traditions of his homeland, Mali, and developing a guitar style all his own. He recorded only a few times in the final years of his life, having retired to become the mayor of his hometown, Niafunké-- he used his own money to improve the roads and sewage system, and fueled the town's generator as well.
Due to the international success of In the Heart of the Moon, Mandé lineage griot Toumani Diabaté wanted to make a follow-up with fellow Malaian, the legendary guitarist Ali Farka Touré. The first record had been cut in Niafunke, Touré’s home village in the north of Mali, Diabaté contacted World Circuit's Nick Gold about doing the follow-up in London, where the pair was due to play a couple of concerts. Gold agreed and suggested they include Cuban bassist Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez on the session.
Ali & Toumani lives up to and perhaps exceeds expectations. Jon Lusk 2010 Released over four years after it was recorded, Ali & Toumani is the second of two lovely acoustic duet albums by the late, great desert blues guitarist and singer Ali Farka Touré and kora wizard Toumani Diabaté. Touré died on March 7, 2006 and if his last solo album, Savane, was a reverb-heavy rage against the dying of the light, this is a resigned but eloquent farewell.