Takin’ It to the Streets: Black Star, Toure, Brother Ali, Yuna, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Rhymefest | Marquette Park | Fairs & Festivals | Chicago Reader

Takin’ It to the Streets: Black Star, Toure, Brother Ali, Yuna, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Rhymefest Member Picks Free All Ages Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Sat., June 15, 1 p.m. 2013

Malian singer and guitarist Vieux Farka Toure has often seemed to be working hard to distinguish himself from his famous father, Ali Farka Toure, who pretty much introduced West African blues to the world. The younger Toure has made every one of his albums with an American producer, and on 2011’s The Secret (Six Degrees) he made some questionable crossover attempts, collaborating with the likes of Derek Trucks, Ivan Neville, and Dave Matthews. For his strong new album, Mon Pays, recorded in Bamako, he’d planned to focus on the traditional acoustic styles of the country’s northern and southern regions, but as violence spread in Mali—Tuareg and Islamic fundamentalist groups have been trying to seize control of the country—he decided instead to make a record that celebrated the country’s history of diversity and tolerance. “Yer Gando” excoriates the foreign invaders, and a pair of instrumentals titled “Future” and “Peace” leave no doubt about what’s on Toure’s mind. He also confronts his inheritance head-on—not only does he cover Ali’s song “Safare,” but he also honors both his father’s legacy and Mali’s musical heritage with circular guitar licks and clopping calabash percussion accented by spindly flurries of kora, twangy ngoni, and nasal, sawing spike fiddle. On album closer “Ay Bakoy” the poppy piano of Toure’s recent Israeli collaborator, Idan Raichel, breaks the spell a bit, but Toure makes up for it with one of the strongest, tenderest vocal performance of his career. —Peter Margasak Toure’s set is part of the one-day festival Takin’ It to the Streets, presented by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network. Black Star headlines; Toure, Brother Ali, Yuna, the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, and Rhymefest open. Music begins at 1 PM.


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