April 5, 2012

Sidi Toure | Koima

ARTIST:  Sidi Toure 
TITLE:  Koima 
LABEL:  Thrill Jockey
Guitarist-singer Toure released a set of duets last year on Thrill Jockey; now he’s back with a full-fledged band recording. Toure, from Gao in northern Mali, sings in the Songhai language and his music definitely falls into the broad and now-popular desert blues category.  All those elements, plus the instrumentation here (two acoustic guitars, calabash percussion, one-stringed fiddle and female background vocals) call to mind the late Ali Farka Toure (no relation to Sidi), and this session indeed has a lot in common with Farka’s breakthrough recordings.  Sidi generally takes his material at faster tempos than Farka (although he also does a nice job on the stately-paced track 8), and his aggressive, precise lead guitar fills betray his interest in rock music and background on electric guitar.  “Desert blues” as a category is a little bit like “old-time music” here in Virginia -- to the uninitiated it might all sound the same, for fans it’s the subtle differences that are the most thrilling.  Sidi Toure definitely adds some new thrills to the genre; this album is a welcome addition to the desert blues catalogue. 
TOP TRACKS:    3    5    7    8    9
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    1    2    4    6    10

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