A Malian's Musings about Music and Mali…

“Ai Du” by Ali Farka Toure & Ry Cooder

In the spirit of properly representing my Malian roots, it’s only right that the first gem I showcase be from my favorite Malian artist: the late great Ali Farka Toure (October 31, 1939 – March 7, 2006). Widely considered the best African guitarist there was in his genre, Toure was ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”….but I’m not going to make this about his career achievements…or I’d have to start talking about his two Grammy awards etc…etc….and we could be here for a long while.

Ai Du is the kind of music you get lost in: the right tempo, understated drums, haunting melodies, incredible guitar work and of course the harmonica as if to remind us that we are indeed listening to the blues……gorgeous…even sensual. I have yet to run into someone who has seen the movie “Unfaithful” (Richard Gere, Diane Lane, 2002) and hasn’t wondered about “that African song playing when she’s in the bathtub”.

To those arguing for of the opinion that North American Blues is a direct derivative of West African Music, ‘Ai Du’ is definitely another point in your favor.


Title: Aidu
Artists: Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder
Album: Talking Timbuktu, 1994

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