African musician Vieux Farka Toure will collaborate with alternative/indie band Last Good Tooth as it brings “Afrissippi” music back to Proud Larry’s Tuesday night.
Afrissippi musical is a style of music rooted here in Oxford. Guelel Kumba, a singer-songwriter rooted in West Africa, came to Oxford in 2002 and collaborated with blues musician Eric Deaton. From the pair’s blended music style, Afrissippi was born, according to NPR.
Afrissippi promotes the collaborations of African musicians with pop stars of the ’80s or ’90s. As described by NPR, Afrissippi is “rock with a West African twist.”
Toure, also referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara,” is from the African country Mali. He is the son of the late Grammy award-winning musician Ali Farka Toure. Though Toure has toured the American South, this will be his first time performing in Mississippi.
Tom Pryor, Toure’s publicist for this tour, said this performance is especially significant for Toure because of his roots.
“Ali Farka Toure, Toure’s father, was often credited as a link between the American Delta blues and West African musical traditions,” Pryor said.
According to Toure’s biography on his website, his parents did not support his dreams of becoming a musician. His dad wanted him to become a soldier instead. However, Toure followed his musical dreams.
Toure began his musical career as a drummer and calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, where he also found his passion for guitar. Before his father’s death in 2014, they had the opportunity to record a few songs together, which made it onto Toure’s first album.
Toure has released quite a few albums since his debut, which have received a great deal of global critical acclaim. His most recent album, “Samba,” was released this month on April 7. The name means “second born” in Bambara, which refers to Toure as the second child of his parents.
“Samba is one who never breaks, who never runs from threats, who is not afraid. It is said that Samba is blessed with good luck,” Toure said.
At first listen, an untrained ear will question which language Toure sings in. Pryor said Toure sings mostly in Mali’s national language of Bambara and in a hometown dialect of the Songhai language that is typically used in Toure’s hometown, Niafunke in Mali. Although Bambara is the national language of Mali, like many Malians, Toure speaks several languages. He sometimes sings in French.
Along with Toure’s interesting style of singing, he and his band use unique and modern instruments while performing. He plays a series of instruments ranging from an electric six-string guitar, bass guitar, keyboards and even traditional Malian instruments. Toure’s traditional favorites include a small wooden stringed instrument called a ngoni, and a calabash percussion, a sphere-shaped instrument played with sticks.
Toure’s music gives a vivid depiction of life and meaning in his home country. He exhibits the traditional style of his roots through a more modern approach, which helps with how he is perceived and how his audiences enjoy his music.