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Lisner Auditorium may not resemble the Sahara, but Thursday night’s “Festival in the Desert” concert featuring Tinariwen and Vieux Farka Toure may at least conjure up some images of that annual event 65 miles north of Timbuktu. A year and a half after his father, guitarist Ali Farka Toure, passed away from cancer, guitarist Vieux Farka Toure has released his self-titled debut, recorded shortly before his dad’s death. Vieux not only attempts to capture his pop’s unique high-pitched Malian-meets-John Lee Hooker technique, he is joined on several cuts by him. Toure responded via a translator to some e-mailed questions that I sent his way:
1. Did your father teach you to play guitar at a young age?
WELL, I USED TO LISTEN TO MY FATHER AND HIS RECORDINGS ALL THE TIME SO I JUST ABSORBED HIS TECHNIQUE OVER THE YEARS. MOSTLY I PLAYED PRECUSSION THOUGH (CALABASH) DURING MY EARLY YEARS, I REALLY ONLY STARTED STUDYING GUITAR SERIOUSLY WHEN I ENTERED THE CONSERVATORY IN 2001.
2. Did you and your father record the songs you played together on, live in the studio, or separately with overdubs?
EVERYTHING WAS RECORDED LIVE, MOST OF IT IN ONE TAKE.
3. Do you listen to rap? Do you ever think you might want to incorporate newer genres into your own?
I LISTEN TO RAP, I LIKE ALL KINDS OF MUSIC …IN SPITE OF MY NICKNAME “VIEUX” (WHICH MEANS OLD IN FRENCH) I AM YOUNG SO I LISTEN TO JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT IS OUT THERE: REGGAE, RAP, ROCK, SALSA,.MY MUSIC IS FIRMLY ROOTED IN TRADITIONAL MALIAN MUSIC BUT I FEEL THAT I HAVE TO ESTABLISH MY OWN STYLE SO I BUILD IN LOTS OF ELEMENTS OF WHAT I AM HEARING ALL THE TIME.
4. Do you feel pressure because of your father’s accomplishments to try to keep up with what he did and to be compared to him?
NOBODY CAN EVER WALK IN ALI’S FOOTSTEPS, MY FATHER WAS A GENIUS.ALL I CAN HOPE TO DO IS SOMEHTING DIFFERENT, HOPEFULLY BETTER . HE WAS ALI, I AM VIEUX…