Ali Farka Toure has produced yet another recording of consummate musical mastery in In the Heart of the Moon. This time his musical collaborator is the master kora player, Toumani Diabate. They are extraordinary partners in this venture. For a musical sample, give a listen to Hawa Dolo.
Toure previously recorded another classic with Ry Cooder, the Grammy-winning Talking Timbuktu, which seemed to be an extended meditation on the interconnectedness of west African music and American Blues. Though it was a bolder and slightly more dynamic recording than In the Heart, the latter is a beautiful and mesmerizing meditation on ethnic and regional diversity within Malian music. Toure himself reflects on this aspect of their project in an interview at Fly.co.uk:
“I am Arma and Toumani is a Griot. I am from the Songrai/Peul culture in the north and he is a Mandé from the south. It’s rare that musicians meet like this from different traditions. But there is something that unites us and it is art and culture, which have no borders,” says Ali Farka Touré of this pairing.
Damian Rafferty, has captured the magic of In the Heart in his review in Fly.co.uk:
From the first few, sharply beautiful notes of this exquisite pairing, it is already clear that this album will be one of the key records of the year. Ali Farka Touré’s guitar and Toumani Diabaté’s Kora emit a phenomenal series of notes that interlock with each other like two intricate cogs in some otherworldly machine
The thing that really takes your breath away about this recording is the wonderful complexity of the playing rendered beautiful by the clean, crisp sound of each musician and the almost supernatural empathy between the two artists as they spontaneously explore the traditional material in clever and often joyful ways. To catch each other as they go further and further from the base tune requires more than trust, in this case it is faith that holds the whole thing together. “Musically,” Ali tells Toumani, “you go where you want when you want and come back when you want to come back. I’ll stay fixed. I won’t go anywhere.”
Also, at Fly.co.uk, Lydia Martin managed to track Toure down in his native Mali and record an interview with him about the new work.