This follow-up to the Malian maestros' Grammy-winning In the Heart of the Moon was recorded in typically off-the-cuff, extemporised fashion in London, prior to the duo's 2005 European tour, while Ali Farka Touré was suffering the pains of the bone cancer which took his life the following year.
It represents the last, precious testament of a hugely influential musician who helped reassert the African roots of blues guitar, captured here alongside his country's leading kora virtuoso. It's much the same formula, with griot praise songs and tunes rooted in the players' Peul and Mandé traditions alongside new pieces spirited up in the studio, such as Diabaté's brief "Fantasia" and Touré's "Ruby", the latter typical of their working relationship in the way the casual grace of Touré's guitar figure is entwined by Diabaté's delicate kora runs. The choice of material is decisively Touré's, including "Sina Mory", the first song he ever heard played on guitar back in the 1950s, and "56" evoking the infectious bounce and sway of Guinea music from the same period. Although most tunes follow traditional lines, "Sabu Yerkoy" has a subtle Cuban flavour, while "Be Mankan" is a gorgeous waltz.
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