LIVE: Vieux Farka Touré – The Crescent, York, 07/11/2022 3

LIVE: Vieux Farka Touré – The Crescent, York, 07/11/2022

To borrow from David Bowie and ‘All The Young Dudes’, The Crescent Community Venue had been wanting to do this for years. And now, finally, it is going to happen. Vieux Farka Touré, the celebrated Malian singer and guitarist, son of African luminary Ali Farka Touré, and an absolute legend in his very own right is about to appear on the stage of this former working men’s club just outside of York city centre. The booking of such a high-profile artist undoubtedly marks a major coup for The Crescent.

Over a recording career that now stretches back 15 years, Vieux Farka Touré has collaborated with a wide and hugely diverse range of artists that has stretched his music far beyond its original desert blues’ template. Those he has worked with include the Israeli composer and pianist Idan Raichel, jazz guitarist John Scofield, another American, the singer, songwriter and baritone ukulelist Julia Easterlin, and, most recently, the Texan trio Khruangbin with whom Vieux Farka Touré recorded Ali, an album of covers of songs originally recorded by his father.

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Vieux Farka Touré

Vieux Farka Touré is here tonight on the fifth date of a European tour which has already seen him zigzagging between Wales, Belgium, and England before he jets off to first Sweden and then finally on Saturday, Spain, where he will perform at the WOMAD Festival in Gran Canaria.  He is an international man of travel, touring relentlessly, a ceaseless global voyage of discovery as he continues to forge his own creative identity.

For 75 minutes this evening Vieux Farka Touré first beguiles, and then dazzles us with the utterly supreme dexterity, virtuosity, and élan of his guitar playing, adorned beautifully by the delicate intonation of his voice. It matters little if you are not familiar with the languages in which he sings as you cannot fail to be swept along with the entire musical experience. 

Vieux Farka Touré first takes us gently into the night with a couple of elegant acoustic numbers before picking up his electric guitar and, loosely anchored by the driving rhythms of his two musical cohorts, then proceeds to blaze a trail through a kaleidoscope of more traditional West African blues, dappling it with shades of psychedelia, funk, and the most intense barrage of heavy rock you are likely to hear this side of late ’60s/ early ’70s power trios such as CreamThe James Gang, and even The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It is as electrifying as it is liberating. 

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos of Vieux Farka Touré at The Crescent in York

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