Malian-born singer and guitarist Sidi Touré has been a musical force since at least 1984, when he won the competition for Best Singer at the Mali National Bienale. His 1998 album, Hoga, showcases his slightly reedy voice and a fluid, eloquent fingerpicking guitar style reminiscent of Mansour Seck. Touré‘s skill has earned him a strong following in his native country.
Sahel Folk, the title of guitarist and songwriter Sidi Touré's second album, is literal in every sense of the word. The set was cut over the course of a few days at his sister Geika's house in Gao, Mali. The "friends" referred to on the cover are just that. The songs were rehearsed one at a time, each with a different friend, and then cut live in two takes the next day.
Recorded in Mali in 2009 and released in January on Chicago intelligentsia indie Thrill Jockey, Sahel Folk preserves stilling rural blues from the former Songhaï empire. Descended from the kings of the region, Sidi Touré, not unlike regional innovator Ali Farka Touré, boasts liquid picking and plucking in this series of duets cut at his sister's home. "Sïnji" ("A Beautiful Woman") and tender lament "Wayey Zarrabo" ("Women Tiredness") glint the crystalline fragility of this meditative prayer.