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Talking Timbuktu

4.7 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 29, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Guitar greats of two continents, Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure, collaborate on this session that crosses cultural boundaries from delta blues to Malian dialects.
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: TOURE/COODER
Title: TALKING TIMBUKTU
Street Release Date: 03/29/1994
Domestic
Genre: ROCK/POP

Amazon.com

Talking Timbuktu is a groundbreaking record that vividly illustrates the Africa-Blues connection in real time. Ali Farka Toure, one of Mali's leading singer-guitarists, has a trance-like, bluesy style that, although deeply rooted in Malian tradition, bears astonishing similarity to that of John Lee Hooker or even Canned Heat. It's a mono-chordal vamp, with repetitive song lines cut with shards of blistering solo runs that shimmer like a desert mirage. Toure may be conversant with some blues artists, but it is unlikely that artists like Hooker or Robert Pete Williams ever heard these Malian roots, which makes the connection so uncanny. Ry Cooder, well versed in domestic and world guitar styles, is the perfect counterpoint in these extended songs/jams, his sinewy slide guitar intertwining with his partner's in a super world summit without barriers or borders. --Derek Rath
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 29, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hannibal
  • ASIN: B00000062H
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,722 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Erika Borsos VINE VOICE on July 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I have 6 or 7 CDs of music from Mali and find myself listening to this one most often. While I love them all --- the combination of musicians: Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder is unbeatable. Track #1 "Bonde" sung in Peul begins with a fantastic guitar introduction by Ali Farka Toure. Each note is drawn out just right to hook the emotions. The congas played by Oumar Toure provides an infectious rhythm. One male voice begins while a chorus responds in rhythmic unity, telling the story of why some women are unsuitable for marriage. Track #2 "Soukara" is sung in the Bambara language ... it has the sound and feeling of music from the Caribbean with a suitable ambient melody. The male vocalist pours his heart out to his lover at night, so say the liner notes. Another favorite track is #5 "Amandral" sung in the Temasheck language. The rhythms and sounds of this desert tribe is familiar. They are unforgetable on the CDs "Festival in the Desert" and "Radio Tisdas Sessions" both of which are highly recommended. As each guitar note is plucked, the feelings of the listener are hooked. The feelings rise ... ever higher in resonance with the melody and mood expressed on the slide, acoustic and bass guitars, drums, calabash, and congas.

Without exaggerating, I feel this CD contains some of the finest guitar playing on the planet. Other favorites are: #6, "Lasidan" (#6) which has a peppy, cheerful and upbeat tempo and #7, "Keito", which has musical elements of India and Pakistan or is it the Meditarranean? Ry Cooder plays the tamboura, Ali Farka Toure plucks and strums the electric guitar. There is a syncopated rhythm played on the congas and calabash. The music of Mali is highly distinct and very appealing. It is the best music from Northern Africa, and to this listener, the best from the whole continent of Africa. Erika Borsos (erikab93)
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Format: Audio CD
On the surface, this is a very simple album, simple in that it is accessible, unpretentious and easy to listen to. On repeated helpings, however, Talking Tmbuktu becomes an extraordinarily beautiful ensemble of the rock-pop (Ry Cooder) and the trad and bluesy (Toure). Take Gomni, the heart rendering tune about "hard work". The rich rhythmic tapistry and haunting melody that shifts back and forth among variations with amazing fluidity touches any soul.
On the other hand, Lasidan, a song about happyness is groovy and multi-layered. Blues aficiandos attempt to catalogue Toure as the "West African John Lee Hooker" due to the similarity in the low-pitched vocals and mid-tempo, foot-stomping rhythms found in so many of his songs (like Ai Du). But I found his music richer; technically its combo of instruments ranging from the emblematic accoustic guitar to the calabash drums to the najarka lute create an inimitable style. Culturally Toure's songs draw from several sources. This is universal music, capable of reaching any heart despite the obvious language barrier.
For a mere mortal like me who picked this album on word of mouth, it also opened a whole new doors into music from Mali.
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Format: Audio CD
This is what you are looking for if you are interested in the funky blues music from the Sountrack Unfaithful.
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Format: Audio CD
Ry Cooder brings another great musician to light. Ali Farka Toure is a leading singer-guitarist from Niafunke, Mali and Ry Cooder has made quite a discovery in this artist. His music is quite good, and very bluesy, though it's a laid back blues. It has been said all along (I don't know by whom, but it has been said) that most of American Blues is just transformed African music, and I think this album clearly illustrates that. The resemblance between this music and just about any album by John Lee Hooker is quite amazing at times.
The lyrics are somewhat repetitive in that African chanting style, but the music that weaves under and around the lyrics is phenomenal at times. Ry Cooder does a good job of extending some more traditional blues stylings into the great music that is led by Toure, just as he has with so many other international artists.
My favorite track from this CD is "Gomni" this track is a very emotional song about hard work and the effects it has on the individual. The melody is trance like at times but changes around enough that it feels almost vivacious in its sound. There are quite a few other great songs on here like "Bonde", "Amandrai" and "Keito" but they all have to be listened to truly appreciate their beauty. The CD as a whole works very well and seems to present a unified face of music that winds around your heart and your ears, much like the Niger river that flows through Toure's homeland.
My one complaint about this CD is that maybe Ry left this CD too much up to Toure, Cooder's great work is almost overpowered by the singer/guitarist wonderful sounds.
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Format: Audio CD
Probably the most satisfying CD of Ali Farka Toure. Ry Cooder has assembled an excellent cast of musicians to back him, including the immortal Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown on violin. The songs are hauntingly beautiful, echoing the Blues, but indebted more to the pervasive Muslim inflence in West Africa. Toure is one of the grand masters of Malian music, which has an incredibly rich heritage. He is a purist at heart and this music reflects that approach, although it has been jazzed up to reach a broader audience. "Soukora" and "Ai Du" will leave you breathless.
One only wishes that Toure had the chance to meet John Lee Hooker, since the two seem like soulmates. When he heard Hooker, Toure apparently was so stunned that he said Hooker belongs in Africa. It just goes to show you that the Blues is firmly embedded in the African tradition.
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