Vieux Farka Toure | Hideout | International | Chicago Reader

Vieux Farka Toure Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., June 3, 7 p.m. and Thu., June 4, 7 p.m. 2009

When your father is Ali Farka Toure, you can’t expect to get out of his shadow on your first record—and Malian singer and guitarist Vieux Farka Toure did sound very much like the master’s apprentice on his self-titled 2006 debut. His superb follow-up, Fondo (Six Degrees), is likewise rooted in bluesy, cycling Mande licks, but rather than stick mostly to acoustic guitar, as he did on his previous disc, he plugs in—which gives his playing a jolt of aggression and helps widen its range of textures. His soloing sometimes approaches a rock feel, but it never clashes with the more traditional sound of the arrangements; African stringed instruments like kora or n’goni weave a thick lattice of notes on many tracks, and on “Samara” his stabbing leads mesh with it beautifully. The grooves throb with a muted funk drive, and Toure sounds much more comfortable with reggae—“Slow Jam” is a big improvement over his debut’s somewhat self-conscious experiment with the genre. Even his resonant voice sounds more authoritative, and he holds his own alongside guest singers like his father’s onetime sidekick Afel Bocoum, who deliver sharp countermelodies and hypnotizing harmonies. If you’ve caught more than one of the Chicago gigs Toure has played in the past few years, you know his growing confidence isn’t strictly a studio phemonenon—Fondo is likely just the first of many big leaps forward for him. This show is part of a four-night stand at the Hideout that began Wednesday and includes a Friday appearance on The Interview Show, hosted by Mark Bazer. —Peter Margasak

Price: $8

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