12 Songs, 54 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 2005, the late guitarist Ali Farka Touré and the kora player Toumani Diabaté released In the Heart of the Moon, which went on to win a GRAMMY® Award. It turns out that the two Malian musicians got together to record more tracks after the success of their duo debut; 2010’s excellent (and finely produced) Ali & Toumani draws from those sessions. The pair provides a feast of plucked tones and entrancing rhythms, and at times they are accompanied by the late Cuban bassist Orlando “Cachaíto” Lopez, backing vocals, and percussion. On “Ruby,” Farka Touré’s strums and riffs nicely complement Diabaté’s ornamented runs. The Cuban-inflected “Sabu Yerkoy” finds Lopez’s bass, Vieux Farka Touré’s congas, and three singers backing up Ali Farka Touré’s appealingly mellow lead vocals. The guitar and kora interlock in exquisite ways on the gentle waltz, “Be Mankan,” and “Warbé” is a West African blues whose groove is deepened by head-nodding bass and conga. The mysterious “Machengoidi” has a timeless, stately quality; the piece evokes court music and highly refined conversation.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In 2005, the late guitarist Ali Farka Touré and the kora player Toumani Diabaté released In the Heart of the Moon, which went on to win a GRAMMY® Award. It turns out that the two Malian musicians got together to record more tracks after the success of their duo debut; 2010’s excellent (and finely produced) Ali & Toumani draws from those sessions. The pair provides a feast of plucked tones and entrancing rhythms, and at times they are accompanied by the late Cuban bassist Orlando “Cachaíto” Lopez, backing vocals, and percussion. On “Ruby,” Farka Touré’s strums and riffs nicely complement Diabaté’s ornamented runs. The Cuban-inflected “Sabu Yerkoy” finds Lopez’s bass, Vieux Farka Touré’s congas, and three singers backing up Ali Farka Touré’s appealingly mellow lead vocals. The guitar and kora interlock in exquisite ways on the gentle waltz, “Be Mankan,” and “Warbé” is a West African blues whose groove is deepened by head-nodding bass and conga. The mysterious “Machengoidi” has a timeless, stately quality; the piece evokes court music and highly refined conversation.

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