The voice from Mali

Music for Mali is like how water is to fish. Viuex Farka Toure, the Malian folk fusion and blues guitarist, known as the ‘Hendrix of Desert Blues’, who was in the City recently, had much to talk about his music.

His music, like Levianthan, has spread across the globe. He recently performed in India as part of ‘Masters of World Music’ by Blackberrys ‘Sharp Nights’ at High Ultra Lounge, World Trade Centre. Musically inclined ever since a child, Farka was influenced by his father.

“My father was everything to me — a friend, a master and a teacher. My father’s style forms the basis of all my music that I play today.” 

Travelling and imbibing the sound of the world, his biggest inspiration for his songs are ‘the world and its people’.

So, apart from performing for art’s sake, Farka’s success factor lies in the fact that
he has been able to convey his emotions to the world, using music as a tool, in different contexts.

It is not surprising that his music took a political turn when the Islamist cult
decided to ban music in Northern Mali because they felt it was a powerful source of inspiration.

“A lot people were upset about this but instead of fighting back with guns and AK 47, I used my music to fight back. I dedicated my last album to the people of Mali and this led to me keep continuing with my ‘political music’.

Farka believes that as a musician, one has to play for themselves before playing for the audience. Despite facing a huge challenge of the decline of live-shows due to
the boom of the internet, which has led to online sharing and piracy of CD’s, Farka is extremely confident and is geared up to perform for his forthcoming shows lined
up in Europe, Luxemberg and France.

Describing his recent India tour as a huge, exciting experience of discovery, where he has met a lot of new and interesting people, he says, “I love the audience as they are extremely knowledgeable and open-minded to my music. There is a cultural exchange taking place on both sides every time I perform at a show. I have heard quite a lot of Bollywood music too.”

He wraps up, “Music is my life and I feel that it is responsible for everything I have done till today. I want to use music to be able to transmit what I want to convey because it adds a different dimension in my life. Music is a form of representation and has a huge role to play everytime there is a crisis. It shapes the identity of people and their homeland.”

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