The Small World Festival is thrilled to welcome back one of our favourite artists. Vieux Farka Touré is known for dazzling crowds with his speed and dexterity on the guitar, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile, both of which captivate audiences around the world.
Son of Malian music legend Ali Farka Touré, Vieux has transcended his family legacy to become a true world music superstar in his own right, forging a singular identity as a singer, guitarist, and composer whose influences range far beyond his homeland. He was strongly discouraged from playing music by his father, who wanted to spare his son from the harsh realities of a musician’s life. Despite the paternal disapproval, he began playing guitar with the encouragement of Malian kora virtuoso Toumani Diabaté. Touré’s 2007 self-titled debut album was an unmistakable statement of purpose, full of richly soulful songs that blended the African guitar tradition with American blues and rock, all built on Touré’s virtuoso guitar playing – a signature that cemented his reputation as the ‘Hendrix of the Sahara’.
Vieux is also known for his critically-acclaimed collaboration with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel: The Tel Aviv Sessions. This year, Vieux is preparing to release another unexpected, genre-bending collaborative album, this time with New York-based singer Julia Easterlin, aptly titled ‘Touristes’. With each new project, Vieux expands his horizons, embraces new challenges and further entrenches his reputation as one of the world’s most talented and innovative musicians. Touré’s new album, aptly titled ‘Touristes’, is a collaboration with New York-based singer Julia Easterlin. Mixing traditional Malian songs and the sounds of ancient Africa with blues and rock, Vieux Farka Touré creates world music for the 21st century.