Today’s song comes from Africa (first in the se­ries); Diara­by is a slow dreamy elec­tric African blues with exquisite singing and gui­tar, by Ali Far­ka Touré; sev­en min­utes of pure mu­si­cal joy.

Let’s start our trip to Africa in Mali, fa­mous among oth­er things for be­ing the lo­ca­tion of Tim­buk­tu; and for its mu­sic. In 1994 Ry Cood­er and Malian mu­si­cal god­fa­ther Far­ka Touré col­lab­o­rat­ed on Talk­ing Tim­buk­tu, which in­cludes Diara­by and is one of my very fa­vorite record­ings.

Talking Timbuktu

It’s a can’t-miss record, cheer­ful yet deep, bluesy and African, es­pe­cial­ly ap­pro­pri­ate for sit­ting out­side on a warm day. I read the back sto­ry once of how Mr Far­ka Touré got in­to play­ing mu­sic that sound­ed si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly like John Lee Hook­er and African camp­fire mu­sic, but I can’t re­mem­ber it. I sure do love the mu­sic though.

Diara­by is just one of a half-dozen beau­ti­ful out­ings on this record. Ai Du has the blues runs played large­ly on an acous­tic African vi­o­lin. Gom­mi has the pret­ti­est singing. Amandrai has an ab­so­lute­ly cos­mic gui­tar break by Ry Cood­er at 3:30, like liq­uid gold. But Diara­by is as sweet as any, a lit­tle more live­ly and, well, I could find a video of it.

Vieux Far­ka Touré · He’s Ali’s son, al­so a gui­tarist and singer, def­i­nite­ly an artist to watch. He does so­lo records and then a cou­ple with Is­raeli key­boardist Idan Raichel as The Touré-Raichel Col­lec­tive, which are aw­ful­ly pleas­ing. For a taste, here’s their take on Diara­by (Spo­ti­fy).

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This song on Spo­ti­fy, iTunes, Ama­zon. As for video, I can’t find any of Ali and Ry play­ing to­geth­er, but here’s a Ger­man TV clip that’s most­ly an in­ter­view with Ry about Ali, with a cou­ple of brief per­for­mance clip­s. Here’s a serene, crys­talline per­for­mance of Diara­by, prov­ing he didn’t need Ry Cood­er around to be great. As an ex­tra bonus, here’s Vieux Far­ka Touré play­ing Ai Du.



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From: Simon Chappell (Feb 07 2018, at 13:08)

I have that CD. I purchased it on my first visit to the United States back in early 1994. Almost any track from the album would have been a good selection, but I think that I'm going with Ai Du as my favorite. I also have his CD The Source. Great music.

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