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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Talking Timbuktu

Ali Farka Touré

1994

Buy At Rough Trade
Talking Timbuktu
Album Summary

Talking Timbuktu is the 1994 collaboration album between Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré and American guitarist/producer Ry Cooder. The guitar riff from the song "Diaraby" was selected for the Geo-quiz segment of The World PRI-BBC radio program and was retained by popular demand when put to a vote by the listeners. In 2009, the album was awarded a gold certification from the Independent Music Companies Association which indicated sales of at least 100,000 copies throughout Europe. The album features in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and received the Grammy Award for Best World Music album of 1994.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.12

Votes

9749
Genres
World

Reviews

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Thu Aug 10 2023
3

lol how does this absolute wildcard get 2 albums? Dimery has no clue at all. Even when he's trying to diversify he still fucks it up. Like oh yeah we've got 800 albums from the UK, the Gilberto family representing Brazil 6 times and some random fella from Mali twice. Durrr, I'm Robert Dimery! 3/5 though it's not bad.

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Thu Oct 19 2023
5

The first two songs were fantastic. The second, nearly brought a tear to my eye. It certainly brought a smile to my face. The fourth song started with a dissonant performance. I like noise and chaos but this was something I wasn't used to. In seconds, I felt my unease being replaced with trust. A trust that these musicians will make this dissonance work, all I have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride. And I did, and they did. The album was fantastic. It also opened up a door into another culture through a blend of the familiar and the exotic. I look forward to exploring more music from this artist and his peers.

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Thu Aug 17 2023
4

perfect for the early morning before a hot day

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Thu Nov 23 2023
5

This is probably my favorite African music album. I can't believe this was almost 30 years ago. Bonde is such an excellent song to kick off the album and let’s you know where the ride will take you. The beginning riff to Soukora grabs your attention and the song settles down into a slow groovin magic with AFT's soothing vocals and then features guitar solos played over each other. Pure magic. This and the haunting Ai Du are my two faves. I could put those two songs on repeat and listen to them all day. The wiki notes say the genres are Malian Folk and Hip Hop. Hip hop? Really? Is Gomni considered a hoop hop song? Not buying that one Mr. Wiki.

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Wed Oct 11 2023
4

In general this album was great. I really enjoyed most of it, though not a ton the few times that Ry Cooder's obvious influence seemed to take center stage. I think Ry Cooder is great, but I just love the Mali guitar stylzings on their own without him asserting himself so much. All in all a great album and strongly recommend.

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Tue Apr 02 2024
4

When Touré and Cooder are talking timbuktu you better listen! 🗣️

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Sun Aug 06 2023
3

ima neke jako dobre stvari kao prve dvije, međutim ne ostavlja neku zanimljivost do kraja, pa zato trojka, a mogla je i četvorka da je išla tim putem kao što je na početku bila, ali nije loš

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Thu Aug 17 2023
3

Toure is the seminal desert blues guitarist and produces some very fine groovy, almost jazz-like tracks. Compared to the Savane album also on this list, this one's rawer and more straightforward. It's fine with plenty of cool moments, and definitely serves its purpose in the background. Nothing that blew me away, and several forgettable tracks. The biggest weakness is 8 out of the 10 tracks are more than 5 minutes, which means the repetition can get pretty exhausting after so many tracks. Favorites: Soukara, Ai Du, Diaraby

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Wed Aug 23 2023
3

Decent-enough. Gets quite repetitive and has a too-smooth sound throughout which almost makes it grow a bit stale after a while; nothing off-putting at all about it but it gives the feel of one long track. i.e. you could put this album on at any track and it wouldn't change the listening experience. Yet, it's a nice listen. Meant with all sincerity, this is just a pleasant album. There are few (if any) chills nor challenging listening moments, but its melodic and low-key nature make it a nice listen, probably more/mostly for background music or working/studying 6/10 3 stars

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Thu Sep 28 2023
3

This album seems like a more toned down desert blues album. The chord progressions feel expansive and the musicianship and singing are great. I’ll give this a tentative three only because I don’t quite understand it right now and need to listen to this album and others in this style to get a better sense of how it fits in.

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Thu May 09 2024
3

I like stuff like this, where I can just kind of turn off my brain and let it wash over me.

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Sat Aug 12 2023
5

Fantastic album. Really great find. I’m goi g to insten to his entire catalog.

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Thu Aug 17 2023
5

An easy 5 for me - I think this was one of the first world music albums I ever owned, around uni time - took me back to the kit crystal radio usage of my early childhood. Fave track - "Bonde" sets the tone for the whole thing and the opening chords immediately transport me, so let's say that one, but really this is about the album rather than the individual tracks...

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Tue Sep 05 2023
5

Un super album de musique du monde avec farka toure et ry cooder. Quo8 demander de mieux. Le vibe est excellent 5

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Thu Sep 21 2023
5

let's fucking gooooo I find this type of blues cool but really boring and the rhythms on this spice it up the perfect amount. Creamed my knickers for this one for sure

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Wed Oct 11 2023
5

SO - Armandri, Gomni, Diaraby

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Tue Oct 17 2023
5

Super. Even better than his posthumous album that I heard recently.

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Wed Nov 01 2023
5

This was amazing. Full of rhythm and emotion. Slow but with a driving pulse and beauty. Dreamy but never boring. Varied but also really takes its time to explore sound-paths. I’ve listened a bit to Ali’s son Vieux Farka Toure. I especially enjoy his album Mon Pays (2013). But I never got around to any deeper dives into the discography of his legendary father Ali. Glad I finally took the plunge. Stand outs: Gomni, Amandrai, Ai Du, Diaraby

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Thu Dec 07 2023
5

Ry Cooder is great but next to Toure it's a hat on a hat. These guys are amazing.

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Wed Jan 03 2024
5

Real cool vibes. Perfect music to work to.

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Wed Jan 03 2024
5

This hits the ground running. Great in headphones, everything is so crisp and clear. I like this. Got some blues, some country, some African beats.

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Wed Jan 10 2024
5

Miłe brzmienia gitarki bębny i inne kołatki Afrykańskie śpiewy Świetna muza

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Fri Jan 12 2024
5

I love Ry Cooder, even if his name does sound like a crude term for a yeast infection

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

This is so different yet feel sso close to home. As someone who mostly listens to hiphop/rap/rnb/trap and dancehall music this is quite a departure from the most lxurious rap beats and even the raw emotion sometimes present in rnb and soul. Hard to pick a favourite but I know Soukora will be a listening staple going forward.

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Wed Feb 21 2024
5

Very enjoyable listening. I had a copy on my Tape collection decades ago, and always found it a delight infrequently found. I enjoyed. I'll continue to enjoy. Just 4 stars.

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Wed Mar 06 2024
5

*I climb onto my house’s roof, stand on its peak, arms outstretched, shouting to the heavens*: THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! THIS IS THE GOOD STUFF! I’m a big fan of both of these guys (Ali & Ry). I love this album, although it does have some weaker moments. Yes, this album has major ‘90s coffee shop vibes, but this album for me is the pinnacle of that vibe in a good way. I remember the song Diaraby being a theme song on a public radio show I listened to about 20 or so years ago, so that song is etched into my soul forever. Thankfully it’s a good song. I’d rate this album 4.5 stars if I had the option. But since I can’t, five stars feels better than four for this album.

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Sun Mar 17 2024
5

Very fun record and for a person who has actually grown up in a similar environment , it invoked a lot of memories

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Wed Mar 20 2024
5

This was very pleasant. Reminded me of Tinariwen.

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Tue Apr 02 2024
5

Ali Farka Touré's album "Savana" was one of my first albums in this project and one of my first great surprises. I didn't know there was another Touré album on the list and I couldn't have been more thrilled to find that out this morning. There's something just so captivating about Touré's performances. His voice and guitar playing are both absolutely mesmerizing and the way he builds songs, layer upon layer, is just so interesting. I find myself drawn into the songs, my ears picking apart all the layers and following the changes in a way that's absolutely compulsive. It's not great for my productivity but it's a fascinating active listening experience.

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Mon Aug 07 2023
4

Where the hell did this come from? This was fan-fuckin-tastic!

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Mon Aug 07 2023
4

Blues. Africana. Interesante.

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Tue Aug 08 2023
4

Nostalgique. ca passe très bien

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Mon Aug 14 2023
4

Ali, after a gentle start, definitely establishes himself as an elder statesman. The man and music are part of tradition, of course, and here fully developed. The Cooder lines don't ever weave; That honor's saved for late strings, with plucked instruments perfectly blending. Before the style's explosion, a volume of songs in late, abstract, comfy, and mature mode.

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Thu Aug 17 2023
4

So relaxing and boppy at the same time. Fave track: Lasidan

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Sun Aug 20 2023
4

Second album by this artist in close succession, by luck of the draw. I liked it even better than the first, I think. A real deep personal callback as well as I actually worked for Public Radio International a long long time back, and that guitar line in Diaraby is deeply wormed into my music brain.

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Tue Aug 22 2023
4

Toffe muziek. Heel werelds, maar toch wat Westers

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Fri Aug 25 2023
4

I didn’t find every song on this album to be super engaging, but there is a lot of great stuff here. Lasidan and Keito are two standouts for me.

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Thu Aug 31 2023
4

This is really really cool. Subtle and intricate, the vibe just kind of sweeps you away. Though i can't understand any of the language, the nice part for me is that it doesn't overpower or get too emphasized to take away from the instrumentation. Thoroughly enjoyed.

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Thu Aug 31 2023
4

Just really relaxing and peaceful. Melodic and entertaining. Would totally listen to this again.

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Sat Sep 02 2023
4

This guy seems like a guitarist's guitarist. I liked the jam sessions better than the attempts at doing blues. Best track: Soukora

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Wed Sep 06 2023
4

Thoroughly enjoyed, Ali Farka Toure's playing style is hard to beat. Could listen all day.

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Thu Sep 14 2023
4

Super goede muziek, maar af en toe wat saai

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Fri Sep 29 2023
4

Loved it getting ready in the morning! Listened to it twice by the time I got to work 👀

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Sat Oct 14 2023
4

The second Ali Farka Touré album I've listened to and the second I've really enjoyed. If this is representative of Malian music, then I like Malian music. Blues with African rhythms and melodies which lend it a great energy. I could have this on in the background all day. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Bonde Date listened: 13/10/23

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Thu Oct 19 2023
4

Really liked the sound overall, especially how the guitar sounds!

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Thu Nov 02 2023
4

Yeah really good. Track 8 is a Banga. I got Savane when it came out and really enjoyed it. But otherwise haven't ventured into Ali Farka Toure's work and I probably really should. Again, an artist I spent most of the 90s reading about but didn't investigate until much later when my awareness of my tastes had widened. Extremely enjoyable listen.

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Thu Nov 09 2023
4

A great soothing record, although I think it misses something that the other Ali Farka Touré album had that pumped it up for me.

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Mon Nov 13 2023
4

This is not my usual music, but it's always excellent to note hidden influences in the music I listen to daily.

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Sun Dec 03 2023
4

Very very enjoyable listening - and something totally new for me!

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Thu Dec 07 2023
4

Listened Before? No Guitar and syncopated percussion forward "world music." Mixing makes it feel like you are sittin in the room of a coffee shop with them laying. Good texture and layering between elements. Enjoy the guitar tone and mirroring to the vocals on Gomni (early standout). Violin work on Sega, weavin back and forth over hand percussion, is really cool. Amandrai is basically a blues song in structure and would feel at home with Stevie Ray Vaughn providing vocals. Lasidan is another standout; solid guitar soloing and bouncy progression. Album closes with a contemplative Diaraby. Overall, I enjoyed this album a lot. It feels very cohesive start to finish and could easily imagine this translated into a intimate live set. Mostly this is peaceful background music, but there are a number of more upbeat and even blues inspired songs that command more direct attention. Glad to have listened to this even if I don't come back right away. 3.5 rounding up to 4. Added to Library? No Sons Added to Playlists: - Soukora (Sunny-vibes)

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Fri Dec 08 2023
4

I super liked this. Incredible interesting listen.

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Sat Dec 09 2023
4

What a great African sound. Soukara means "night". My love it is night now, Wait for me my love. 3.5

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Sun Dec 10 2023
4

Gorgeous interlocking lead lines from the guitars, kora and vocals, a relaxed mostly acoustic palette, and trance inducing drone/rhythm parts made of layers and layers repeating melodic figures and hand drums. There's a totally distinctive approach to guitar playing here that I wonder maybe has something to do with a applying a kora-informed sensibility combining rhythm and lead playing and featuring short expressive runs?

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Sat Dec 16 2023
4

I love me some African inspired jazzy jams. This album is a little too long, too paired down, and too repetitive for me to go full 5 stars, buuuuut I loved it and it was close.

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Sat Dec 16 2023
4

Extremely relaxing world music

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Fri Dec 22 2023
4

Really beautiful, should listen again

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Fri Dec 22 2023
4

Wow this is some good shit right here. I’m always down for some desert blues and Tuareg music. I encourage all of you to read a bit about the Tuareg people and the messages in their music. One of my favorite features of Desert Blues is the phenomenal interwoven guitar playing, almost like proto-math rock.

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Wed Dec 27 2023
4

African Blues. Pretty awesome.

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Wed Dec 27 2023
4

Really lovely, an excellent album. Musically, this is pretty perfect, with a rich, earthy, bluesy sound. Fave Songs: Bonde, Soukora, Lasidan, Gomni, Sega

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Sat Jan 06 2024
4

Had never heard of them. Really good.

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Mon Jan 08 2024
4

It works. The curious blend of Ali Farka's African roots music and Ry Cooder's signature guitar sound come together in an exercise that is very positively surprising. I started listening skeptically ('another world music album to justify the variety on the list'), and I end up with a very good taste in my mouth. Ideal for sunny Sunday mornings. Fantastic

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Wed Jan 10 2024
4

Favorites were "Gomni" and "Ai Du"

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Wed Jan 10 2024
4

Love actually getting some variety from this book. This was a fun one love hearing music from other countries beside America and England

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Sun Jan 14 2024
4

Independently rediscovered this one a couple of months ago. Really interested in West African blues as a genre, guess this is the jumping off point.

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Sun Jan 14 2024
4

good, different from much of this list. if you are a guitarist the stuff that sounds like it would be simple to play is a wonderful learning experience. you will embarrass yourself and possibly learn something nice about the instrument music: appreciated. (⌐□_□)

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Wed Jan 17 2024
4

Pretty cool, not a genre I really have any frame of reference for. Blending with blues made for a pretty unique sound

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Wed Jan 17 2024
4

This is great. Somewhere I read a comparison of Ali Farka Touré to John Lee Hooker, and I can definitely hear the similarities. That's a good thing for me, as I love John Lee. This is a really nice collaboration and blend of musical styles. 4 stars.

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Fri Jan 19 2024
4

Experimental and improvised sounding. Nice as background droning, but it doesn't really hit me.

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Wed Jan 31 2024
4

A nice collection of arab-ish tunes with lovely strums of a string instrument and guitar solos that work more similarly to western pop(ish?) music than expected. Lovely sounds.

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Thu Feb 01 2024
4

Just a really chill album, with great musicianship from both parties. A few songs are more afrobeat/traditional African sounding and a few are more westernized blues style. The singing on particularly the African sounding tracks is a really good listen and could almost always put me in a great mood. 8/10

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Thu Feb 08 2024
4

Very nice African style music. Hypnotic beats, chill guitar, great basslines

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Thu Feb 15 2024
4

Talking Timbuktu is the second album from Ali Farka Touré that I have reviewed for this list. In general, I like Farka Touré, and it felt like a bonus that Ry Cooder is included on the album. I like the rolling notes of Farka Touré's music ("Gomni") and I thought I could hear some of Ry Cooder's contributions on "Amandrai", but my favourite track was "Soukora" which sounded like a song I would have picked to sing as a lullaby to my kids. "Soukora" has a good mix of vocals and instruments - neither are too complex, but both have something to pay attention to. When I got to the last track ("Diaraby"), I realized that this was the one track that I recognized, if only from the opening music from PRI's the World radio program. There weren't any tracks that I wanted to skip. I could come back to this album again.

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Thu Feb 15 2024
4

Seriously hypnotic, absorbing and stirring blues from two extraordinary guitarists; the production values are excellent and the music soars.

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Mon Feb 19 2024
4

Excellent African blues. Repetitive at times, but there was also some nice variation between songs. Favorite tune was Soulora

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Thu Feb 29 2024
4

4/5. Easy to listen to. Some songs had a really great blues vibe.

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Fri Mar 01 2024
4

I really enjoyed this album; it's just downright pleasant! This album is incredibly smooth and easy to listen to, without being boring. The guitar work here is beautiful, and all of the accompanying music gives what I only know how to describe as a "desert-y, country-esque flamenco vibe", but African style! In that vein, this music is very clearly folk-oriented, and I feel like it does a good job of conveying that; I feel as if I've heard something regionally unique, something that I can assume is regionally well-representative of Mali. Anyway, I thought this was beautiful and well done, and it apparently hit just right on this sunny Friday morning.

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Fri Mar 01 2024
4

while i wish more music from around the world was included, typically we get some of the best music from countries i wouldn't listen to otherwise. talking timbuktu by ali farka touré and ry cooder is beautiful, blues-y, and (as i suspect/hope) representative of the republic of mali. with this album a collaboration between a malian and an american, i was concerned it wouldn't be as unique, like touré would be too confined by western music to his detriment. but cooder is a respectful musician and producer, and the result is an album that is unrestrained and reverent.

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Fri Mar 01 2024
4

My second Ali Farka Touré album for this project. Enjoyed it just as much as the first, was great to have on while working. Comforting yet engaging. 4/5

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Wed Mar 06 2024
4

This was pretty terrific, great guitar work! I really wish I had more to say, just enjoyed it a lot. Sometimes repetition can get boring (see most of the house music on the list), and sometimes like with this album, it builds up an interesting groove that you can just swim in.

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Fri Mar 08 2024
4

interesting guitar album, pretty chill and relaxed. enjoyed it.

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Sat Mar 09 2024
4

Ali is a folk guitarist from Mali, and Ry is a guitarist from America. This is classed as Malian folk. Interested to see what this is all about. This album was fantastic! The classic African folk music coupled with some phenomenal fiddle work (notably on Sega) was awesome! Favourite songs: Bonde, Amandrai, Soukora, Gomni, Ai Du, Sega, Banga, Lasidan Least favourite songs: if forced to pick, Diaraby 4/5

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Mon Mar 11 2024
4

Wikipedia tells me this is "desert blues". It definitely sounds like the Mississippi Delta's cousin from a different country. I enjoyed it. Feels like traveling music. Favorite tracks: "Ai Du", "Diaraby"

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Mon Mar 18 2024
4

I'm glad this album made the list. It's legendary in audiophile circles but I had never taken the time to listen to it. It has some absolutely beautiful moments. The arrangements are interesting and always tasteful and at times quite dramatic. The recording is of course clean and clear and dynamic as is the music. This albums is a journey of discovery for meone I think I'll return to often. 4 stars

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