Vieux Farka Toure - The Basics:
Vieux Farka Toure (pronounced Vyooh - the "ooh" having the same vowel sound as "should" - Farka Too-ray) was born Boureima Farka Toure in Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Toure, who passed away in 2006. Vieux Farka Toure has released two albums and is quickly gaining steam as one of African music's most exciting new voices.
Like Father, Like Son:
Ali Farka Toure came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musicians. When Vieux Farka Toure was in his teens, he declared that he, too, wanted to be a musician. His father wanted him to honor his lineage and become a soldier, but with help from family friend Toumani Diabate, eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician.
Vieux Farka Toure's Musical Education:
Vieux Farka Toure was initially a drummer and calabash player, but in 1999, enrolled in Mali's Institut National des Arts to study guitar. He also studied traditional music with kora player Toumani Diabate, among others.
Ali Farka Toure's Final Recordings:
Ali Farka Toure was becoming frail with cancer when his son announced that he was going to record an album. His father decided to record a couple of tracks with him, and these recordings, which can be heard on Vieux Farka Toure's eponymous debut CD, were ultimately his final ones. People have said that the senior Toure proudly played rough mixes of these songs when people visited him in his final days, at peace with, and proud of, his son's talent as a musician.
Vieux Farka Toure's Sound:
With his first recording, Vieux Farka Toure followed fairly closely in his father's footsteps, recording a modernized version of the traditional West African music that fathered the American blues. With his second record, 2009's Fondo, he branched out further and began to really find his own sound, a combination of his father's music, with elements of rock, Latin music, and other pan-African influences thrown in.