Vieux Farka Touré's new single "Ngala Kaourene" debuts with video; new record "Les Racines" out 6/10

Article Contributed by Sacks and Company | Published on Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré is debuting the third track and video from his upcoming album Les Racines (translated as “the roots”), due June 10 via World Circuit Records. “Ngala Kaourene” is a powerful plea to the people of Mali at a time of great turbulence and struggle, as Vieux explains: “Today my country Mali is going through a difficult situation. All I ask of my brothers is to give each other their hand, whatever your ethnic group. Let’s reconcile for a way out of the crisis. Only unity creates strength. Let’s make peace. It is in peace that we can flourish.”

Watch/share “Ngala Kaourene” HERE.

“Ngala Kaourene” follows the album’s previous two singles, “Gabou Ni Tie” and “Flany Konare.” Touré—who is known as the “Hendrix of the Sahara” and the son of the late Desert Blues pioneer Ali Farka Touré—spent two years making Les Racines, representing a deep reconnection with the Songhai music of Northern Mali known as Desert Blues, made famous by his father. “Returning to the roots of this music is a new departure for me and I’ve never spent so long or worked so hard on an album,” Vieux says. “I knew it had to be deep and durable and powerful and so I took a lot of time to reflect on how to do it and put it together.”
Pre-order Les Racines HERE.

Les Racines is Touré’s sixth solo album in a recording career that began in 2006 and which has taken in audacious collaborations with the likes of Dave Matthews and the jazz guitarist John Scofield, an album with the American singer-songwriter Julia Easterlin, and two records with the Israeli artist Idan Raichel as The Touré-Raichel Collective. “Early in my career people asked why I wasn’t just following my father. But it was important for me to establish my own identity,” Vieux says. “Now people know what I can do, I can return to those roots with pride and I hope a certain authority.”

Recorded in Bamako in Touré’s home studio, the timeless grooves of the album are steeped in the traditional music of West Africa. But the fire of his guitar playing and the urgency of the messages in his songs add an entirely contemporary relevance. “We are nothing if we abandon respect for the past,” Touré notes. “But we can also marry modernity with the strength of our traditions.”

The son of the late Ali Farka Touré, acclaimed as the finest guitarist Africa has ever produced, Vieux spent two years making Les Racines but the album had been gestating in his mind even longer. “I’ve had a desire to do a more traditional album for a long, long time. It’s important to me and to Malian people that we stay connected to our roots and our history,” he explains. The lockdowns caused by the Coronavirus outbreak, which prevented him from touring, were turned to his advantage as he used the time to craft the most profound statement of his career to date.

The ten songs, all original compositions, address a range of topics, traditional and contemporary. “In Mali many people are illiterate and music is the main way of transmitting information and knowledge,” Touré explains. “My father fought for peace and as artists we have an obligation to educate about the problems facing our country and to rally people and shepherd them towards reason.”

1. Gabou Ni Tie
2. Ngala Kaourene
3. Les Racines
4. Be Together
5. Tinnondirene
6. Adou
7. L‘Âme
8. Flany Konare
9. Lahidou
10. Ndjerene Direne

May 11—Jazz Alley—Seattle, WA
May 12—Star Theater—Portland, OR
May 13—Freight & Salvage—Berkeley,  CA
May 14—Center for the Arts—Grass Valley, CA
May 15—Felton Music Hall—Felton, CA
May 17—Musical Instrument Museum Theater—Phoenix, AZ
May 18—Dakota—Minneapolis, MN
May 19—SPACE—Evanston, IL
May 20—Le Poisson Rouge—New York, NY
May 21—World Café Live—Philadelphia, PA
May 22—Race Street Live—Holyoke, MA
June 8—Crystal Ballroom—Somerville, MA
June 10—Infinity Hall—Norfolk, CT
June 11—StageOne—Fairfield, CT
June 12—Afrika Nyaga Fest—Providence, RI
August 4—Celebrate Brooklyn—Brooklyn, NY