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Ali Farka Toure

Born on 31 October, 1939 in Mali, Ali Farka Toure was one of the greatest guitarists to come out of the African Continent. His soul touching music blends traditional Malian music with African American blues. A singer and a multi-instrumentalist, Toure is considered a pioneer of African desert blues.

Overcoming prejudices of Malian society, Toure chanced upon a performance by the national ballet of Guinea in 1956 which influenced him to pursue a career in music.The guitar playing in the performance made Toure determined to learn the instrument. Toure soon soaked up the music of different cultures of Mali and learned to sing in seven languages.

Toure is often called the John Lee Hooker of Africa for the many superpositions of guitars and rhythms in his music. His breakthrough eponymous album established his reputation in the world music community and since has left a profound effect on many. He has collaborated with some of the most renowned musicians, most famously with guitarist Ry Cooder on the Grammy winning album Talking Timbuktu. His music has been featured in various films- Olivier Assayas's Irma Vep, Martin Scorsese's Feel Like Going Home and many others.

Matthew McConaughey, in his book Greenlights, called Touré one of his favourite musicians and said that Touré's music inspired him to visit Africa, where he spent a day with him. Such was Ali Farka Touré's influence on the world. He won 3 Grammy awards and many other accolades until his retirement. He became the mayor of his hometown in 2004 and did two years later after a long battle with bone cancer

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