African Musician Ali Farka Toure Dies

March 07, 2006:

Ali Farka Toure
As reported by, the legendary Ali Farka Toure, a traditional African musician died today (March 7) in his native Mali home after a long battle with bone cancer. He was in his late 60s.

Toure, one of Africa's most famous and influential performers, played a traditional Malian stringed instrument called the gurke.

He was best known in America and Europe for his 1995 collaboration with guitarist Ry Cooder on Talking Timbuktu, which netted him his first of two Grammys. He won another Grammy this year in the traditional world music album category for his album In the Heart of the Moon, performed with fellow Malian Toumani Diabate.

According to his American label, Nonesuch Records, work had just been completed on a new solo album. No release date has been set.

Across his deeply impoverished west African nation, people mourned Toure's passing and radio stations suspended regular play, sending Toure's signature lilting sounds out over airwaves instead.

Toure was born in 1939 in the northern Sahara Desert trading post of Timbuktu. Like many Africans of his generation, the exact date of his birth was not recorded.

Toure learned the gurkel at an early age, later also taking up the guitar. He cited many Western musicians for inspiration, including Ray Charles, Otis Redding and John Lee Hooker.

Toure spent much of his later days in his childhood town of Niafunke, which has become a pilgrimage spot for many music-loving Africans and tourists seeking one of the original progenitors of a genre known as Mali Blues.

[Published on: 3/8/06]

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Goaty Tue 3/7/2006 12:34PM
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Rest in peace Ali

joshmillerphoto starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/7/2006 01:58PM
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Ali Farka Toure will be missed dearly. Not only was he a great musician, he was a caregiver to many of his people in Mali. I've been told he supported hundreds of folks in his hometown of Niafounke. He played a mean guitar as well as the gurke. According to a friend who has heard the new recordings, his new album will prove to be one of his best ever...May the people never forget the gift he gave...I won't. RIP Ali Farka, Allah Ka Hera K'i Ye (May God Give You Peace) Bambara Benediction.

dannymo starstarstarstarstar Wed 3/8/2006 11:22AM
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rest in peace brother! hey all check Ali's record with Ry Cooder it's great

shainhouse Thu 3/9/2006 07:51AM
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He's is an inspiration. RIP.

dch starstarstarstar Wed 3/15/2006 08:10PM
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A truly great musician and even greater human being. His is an example to which we all should look. The loss to his family and the people of Niafunke is unimaginable. He may be in peace but I doubt he is resting; he's likely still working hard to fulfill the hopes and dreams he had for the place and people he so dearly loved. May those hopes and dreams continue and grow to unbounded, glorious fruition.