VIEUX FARKA TOURÉ African Blues Star | PDX Jazz | Where Jazz Lives
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VIEUX FARKA TOURÉ African Blues Star

Thursday, May 12, 2022 | 9:00 pm - 11:07 pm


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* PDX Jazz Members discount with Reserved seating area upstairs
(code in Members Newsletter) – Join Today 

GA Standing / Dancing room only show.

Tickets from the previous postponed show will be honored.

8.00 PM Doors – 9:00 PM Show

SOUL’D OUT & PDX JAZZ proudly present
the return of African blues star

Vieux celebrates the release of his new single Gabou Ni Tie from the upcoming ‘Les Racines’ album.

Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of the late legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré.
Vieux is also the director of The Ali Farka Touré Foundation, an international organization dedicated to the preservation of Ali’s legacy and the cultural growth of Mali.
His live performances are highly energized and Vieux 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 from all audiences in spite of any language barriers (though Vieux does speak 8 languages).


There’s a popular proverb in Mali that says life’s family name is change. It’s a dictum that Vieux Farka Touré has followed throughout his career over a series of adventurous cross-border explorations and collaborations. Yet there’s another more universal adage that says to know where you’re going, you must know where you’ve come from. It’s that essential human need to embrace one’s heritage that lies at the heart of Les Racines.


The title, which translates as ‘the roots’, says it all, for the album represents a deep reconnection with the traditional Songhai music of northern Mali, one of the northern West African musical traditions known in the West by the catch-all term ‘Desert Blues’. And Vieux’s roots run deeper than deep. The son of the late Ali Farka Touré, acclaimed as the finest guitarist Africa has ever produced, Vieux spent two years making Les Racines but the album had been gestating in his mind even longer. “I’ve had a desire to do a more traditional album for a long, long time. It’s important to me and to Malian people that we stay connected to our roots and our history,” Vieux explains. The lockdowns caused by the Coronavirus outbreak, which prevented him from touring, were turned to his advantage as he used the time to craft the most profound statement of his career to date.


Les Racines is Vieux’s sixth solo album in a recording career that began in 2006 and which has taken in audacious collaborations with the likes of Dave Matthews and the jazz guitarist John Scofield, an album with the American singer-songwriter Julia Easterlin, and two records with the Israeli artist Idan Raichel as The Touré-Raichel Collective.


“Early in my career people asked why I wasn’t just following my father. But it was important for me to establish my own identity,” Vieux says. “Now people know what I can do, I can return to those roots with pride and I hope a certain authority.”


Recorded in Bamako in Vieux’s home studio (named Studio Ali Farka Touré in his father’s honour), the timeless grooves of the album are steeped in the traditional music of West Africa. But the fire of Vieux’s guitar playing and the urgency of the messages in his songs add an entirely contemporary relevance. “We are nothing if we abandon respect for the past,” Vieux notes. “But we can also marry modernity with the strength of our traditions.”


In some ways Les Racines is a son’s loving tribute to Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006 and whose name is invoked in the album’s closing track “Ndjehene Direne”. Yet it is so much more than that, for Les Racines  marks out Vieux as the great man’s rightful heir and a major artist in his own right. “It’s difficult to be the child of someone who has gone to the top of the mountain. The name follows you around and it means you have twice as much work to do to establish yourself,” he says. “The album is an homage to my father but, just as importantly, to everything he represented and stood for.”

As a passionate champion for the people of Mali and The Sahel, Vieux founded the charity Amahrec Sahel in 2012 to support humanitarian reconstruction and culture. The charity has provided school supplies for children, supported an orphanage in Bamako and provided musical instruments for young musicians in Mali.


Thursday, May 12, 2022
9:00 pm - 11:07 pm
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