This Friday Khruangbin and Malian guitarist Old Farka Touré will release his highly anticipated collaborative album Ali in honor of Vieux’s late father, the great Ali Farka Touré, on Dead Oceans in partnership with Night Time Stories Ltd. music while spinning it in unexpected new directions.
Already the LP has been spotlighted everywhere, from the New York Times and NPR (“labyrinthine fusion of Malian dub, blues and grooves”), to GQ and NME. And in a new profile for the BBC, the Houston trio explain the origin of the LP: “The songs on the album were handpicked by Ali’s 11 children…” we went to the blind and recorded eight songs with him. [Vieux] teach us, in a way,” says Khruangbin drummer DJ Johnson. Vieux says the sessions were informed by his father, who prioritized studio improvisation. “Freed from the weight of Ali’s history, Khruangbin followed his instincts – adding elements of zydeco and Cajun music to these West African beats.”
Ali’s legacy and impact are hard to overestimate. Fusing his much-loved traditional Malian musical styles with distinct blues elements, singing in the local Songhay, Tamasheq, Fulfulde and Bambara languages. The result was the creation of a revolutionary new genre, now well known as “desert blues”, which earned him 3 Grammy awards, widespread reverence and the nickname “the African John Lee Hooker”.
And there were no better musicians to rise to the challenge than Vieux and Khruangbin, as each new project expands their horizons, takes on new challenges and strengthens their shared reputation as the most innovative musicians in the world.
Recently, the pair played a sold-out show in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on one of the hottest days of the year, as noted by Vanity Fair and praised by Variety in a live review. There will be more live shows and appearances by the couple this fall at festivals and shows in Denver, Las Vegas, Mesa and Santa Fe.