Ali Farka Touré, Toumani Diabaté – Ali & Toumani (2xLP)
Due to the international success of In the Heart of the Moon, Mandé lineage griot Toumani Diabaté wanted to make a follow-up with fellow Malaian, the legendary guitarist Ali Farka Touré. The first record had been cut in Niafunke, Touré’s home village in the north of Mali, Diabaté contacted World Circuit's Nick Gold about doing the follow-up in London, where the pair was due to play a couple of concerts. Gold agreed and suggested they include Cuban bassist Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez on the session. There was some urgency: Touré was dying. The sessions were cut over four days in June of 2005; this is his last recording. The contents are made up of improvisations and new versions of old songs from both men’s regions. Opener “Ruby” is a gorgeous improvisation, where Touré doesn’t play the role of guitar slinger, but of a guitarist playing only for his own enjoyment, softly, gently, with his trance-like hypnotic rhythm, allowing Diabaté to let his kora flow over the modal pattern.
This self-titled album is a fitting tribute to Touré’s and Diabaté’s genius and friendship, and is a beautiful farewell.