The 5-minute Interview: Vieux Farka Touré, Musician

'You can't fight your destiny. I was meant to play guitar'
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The Independent Online

The guitar virtuoso, 26, is from Niafunke in Mali. His first album, 'Vieux Farka Touré', was released by World Village last year. He is playing the Jazz Café in London next Saturday.

If I weren't talking to you right now, I'd be ...

Playing my guitar! About the only time I am not fiddling round on the guitar is when I'm asleep.

A phrase I use far too often is ...

Insh'allah (God willing). But then I don't think I can say that too often with all the good things that have happened to me. I am travelling the world and playing with people like Ry Cooder and Damon Albarn.

I wish people would take more notice of ...

How much beauty there is in Mali. Everyone outside Africa always thinks of war, hunger and strife when they think of Africa. But here in Mali we really have everything.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was ...

When I played for a country music radio show in Tennessee and the audience went nuts for my music! We were in the birthplace of country music and there were all these great American country musicians. A huge audience had come to see them who had no idea who I was. But ... when the whole band began to play they started to scream and shout and jump around.

A common misperception of me is ...

That I'm really rich! Everyone in Mali thinks that because I am on tour so much I must be drowning in money. I can really understand now why my father didn't want me to become a musician. It's a hard life.

I am not a politician, but ...

I think that if you have something, you must share with those who have nothing. You can't just take from life, you must give back.

I'm good at ...

I'm a pretty good mechanic. I can repair most cars.

I'm very bad at ...

Speaking English. I can understand a lot, but I'm shy to speak.

You know me as a musician, but in truer life I'd have been...

You can't fight your destiny. My father tried to make a soldier out of me, but I was always meant to play the guitar.

In moments of weakness, I ...

Eat way too much. I always gain weight on tour, eating weird stuff.

The best age to be is ...

I think my age now is pretty good. I'm learning a lot, but I'm old enough to appreciate everything that is happening in my life. That's a cool place to be.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is...

Be good to the Earth and its people, and they will be good to you.

Andrew Black

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