Vieux Farka Toure 


Komedia, Brighton, June 12

EMERGING from the shadow of a father hailed as one of Africa’s greatest and most influential musicians must be a daunting prospect, but it’s a step Vieux Farka Toure has decisively taken with the release of this year’s album, Samba. 

While the late Ali Farka Toure combined traditional Malian music with the North African blues, earning him comparisons to John Lee Hooker, Vieux has further electrified the sound, channelling the more raucous style of Jimi Hendrix. 

The cyclical, droning backbone of the desert blues is a constant throughout the 90-minute set, which incrementally ratchets up in tempo.

Farka Toure appears with a two-piece bass/drum band, putting his all-encompassing guitar work at the forefront throughout. 

A committed soloist, his winding lines are more rhythmic than melodic, taking the same trills and licks of the desert blues and drenching them in warm chorus, while staring nonchalantly at the crowd.

What the band lack in numbers Farka Toure makes up for by enlisting an impromptu backing choir in just a few bars, breathing fresh life into stale audience participation routines. 

He isn’t the only desert bluesman to go electric – compatriots Songhoy Blues and Tamikrest offer their own take on the Saharan inspired sound – though few have as much singular showmanship.

Finn Scott-Delany