Review: Farka Toure in a reflective mood

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THE civil war in Mali has had devastating consequences for the people of the African nation – but one of the less obvious results of the conflict has been the explosion in its cultural output, despite a ban.
Musicians from Mali have been prolific in 2013, and now Vieux Farka Toure, one the most famous of his peers, has put out Mon Pays.
This is not an LP that’s full of doom and gloom however, nor is it fired by vitriol and political anger.
Instead this mainly-acoustic effort finds Toure in a philosophical mood, his trademark meandering Afro-blues guitar work reflecting his feelings on the conflict through numbers such as Peace and Future.
The vocal and musical explorations here are free-ranging, allowed to do so by a razor sharp percussive backing, the taps and clicks allowing Toure a freedom of expression.
As you’d expect while he roams, especially for a work created in the backdrop of such a vicious conflict, there are dark moments here – the slavery song Yer Gando for instance -but the lasting image here is of the culture and country that’s being hidden behind the headlines.

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