Vieux Farka Toure is a second-generation guitar luminary who has made a career successfully merging Africa and the diaspora.
When he appeared at the Annenberg Center’s Prince Theatre for the first of two sets Friday night, he showed the world he is not blending the music of his native Mali with that of other places.
With an array of songs that ranged from African chamber music to Maghreb-Andaluz romps to slashing, incisive blues to joyous, rocking dance tunes, the guitarist showed the world that it’s all been in Africa since the beginning.
There was no need for lots of musicians on this gig; two percussionists and two guys with stringed instruments were all that was needed. Percussionists Tim Keiper on drum set and shakers and Souleymane Kane on calabash and djembe worked the middle of the field, with Keiper’s propulsive work and Kane’s gorgeous pops and clicks making Toure smile. And Malian bassist Mamadou Sidibe (Toure has bassists like Kardashians have husbands) was perfect for this ensemble; as in much African music, his nimble, active runs were more than just a foundation. They were, indeed, an equal partner in the conversation.