These are some of our favorite photos from this past Sunday’s concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of Fania records with Boogaloo Assassins, Roberto Roena and Joe Bataan, and a wonderful performance by Vieux Farka Touré!
Playlist of the Week #5
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” -Aldous Huxley
The performers at this weekend’s concert, Vieux Farka Toure, Roberto Roena and Boogaloo Assassins, are the inspiration behind the Playlist of the Week. We’ve asked our staff to compile a number of songs that remind them of the artists. Listen below, and come celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Fania Records, featuring salsa great Roberto Roena and Los Angeles-based Latin group Boogaloo Assassins, along with virtuoso guitarist Vieux Farka Toure, this Sunday, July 20, at 2 P.M. at the beautiful Sigmund Stern Grove. The performance is, as always, admission-free. Donations are welcomed!
Vieux Farka Touré at Stern Grove Festival on Sunday, July 20, at 2 p.m.
Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006. Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father disapproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend, the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed.
Read more about Vieux in our interview with him below.
What about your home country of Mali did you want to convey in your most recent album, Mon Pays?
With Mon Pays I wanted to remind the people of Mali, and the world too, that there is a deep culture in Mali with deep roots and traditions that cannot be destroyed by invaders. At the time of making this album there was a lot of trouble in Mali with foreign Islamists coming to claim the land and to ban music. I was doing what I could do as an artist to remind the world of Mali’s beauty and why it was so important to fight to protect it.
How was it performing for in front of millions at the 2010 World Cup? Had you ever experienced a similar crowd before?
No, I cannot say I have ever seen a crowd like that before or after in my life. Perhaps one day we will have the world cup in West Africa and the crowd will be even bigger and more crazy, but it is hard to even imagine.
What inspires you the most while writing songs?
For me, often it is love. I will feel a powerful rush of love and it will inspire me to write a song. Other times I will just be jamming and a cool riff will just come out and I will build on that. But for the words and the melody it always comes from a feeling of love.
What has been your most favorite performance to date? What was it about this performance that you enjoyed?
Wow wow wow. This is a difficult question. It is so hard to chose among the hundreds of incredible shows I have had the good fortune of playing in my life. I think, for me, nothing beats the last performance I had at the Festival of the Desert in Essakane near Timbuktu. There was such a pure feeling of joy in the air. I have never felt an energy like that before. For me it is a very tragic thing that the festival is not happening, last year and again this year. For all Malian musicians this should be an important goal, to bring the Festival of the Desert back. It is a great source of joy and pride and peace for our region.