Vieux Farka Touré
About Vieux Farka Touré
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Vieux Farka Touré, is the second son of legendary Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré. Born in 1981, Vieux was drawn to music at a young age and, growing up in his father's hometown of Niafunké and the Malian capital, Bamako, he began playing percussion, growing adept on both calabash and drum kit. For most of his early career, his father thwarted his musical desires, urging him instead to become a soldier and avoid the many problems he himself had endured by becoming an artist.
In 1999, Vieux became a student at the National Arts Institute in Bamako, taking up his father's instrument, the guitar, and writing his own music. During his tenure his ability developed, and by the time he graduated he'd become locally celebrated and able to play in the same desert blues style as his father. He became part of the group backing kora wizard Toumani Diabaté, who urged Ali to accept his son's choice and begin encouraging him. With Diabaté, Vieux gained valuable international experience that would serve him well when he began his career. After being granted permission by his father and village elders, Vieux and producer Eric Herman began work on his solo debut in 2005. The self-titled album was released by World Village in 2007, establishing Vieux as his own force on the world music scene. It also contained the last recorded output of his father, who passed away in early 2006.
Over subsequent releases like 2009's Fondo and 2011's The Secret, Vieux began to extend beyond his father's shadow, blending elements of Latin, rock, and jazz into his sound. He also collaborated with a variety of artists on a pair of remix albums that featured music from his first two efforts. While preparing material for his fourth album, 2013's Mon Pays, a political and territorial uprising broke out in Mali, painting a turbulent backdrop to an already thematic album about the beauty of his country. Following a 2015 collaborative album with American singer Julia Easterlin called Touristes, Vieux returned in 2017 with Samba, his fifth solo effort. Recorded in Woodstock, New York, in front of a live studio audience, the title refers not to the Latin music genre but to the Songhai word for "second boy," which Vieux was frequently called while growing up.
~ Timothy Monger & Chris Nickson