The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Literature from Mexico City

Interview with Vieux Farka Touré

Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Toure was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Toure, who died in 2006.

Vieux was initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in 2001. Ali Farka Touré was weakened with cancer when Vieux announced that he was going to record an album. Ali recorded a couple of tracks with him, and these recordings, which can be heard on Vieux’s debut CD, were amongst his final ones. It has been said that the senior Touré played rough mixes of these songs when people visited him in his final days, at peace with, and proud of, his son’s talent as a musician.

In June 2010, Vieux performed at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. That month Vieux also released his first live album, LIVE. His live performances are highly energized and Vieux is known for dazzling crowds with his speed and dexterity on the guitar, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile, both of which captivate audiences from all audiences in spite of any language barriers (though Vieux does speak 8 languages).

In April 2012, Vieux released The Tel Aviv Session (Cumbancha), a collaborative project with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel dubbed ‘The Toure-Raichel Collective’ that has been hailed by fans and critics alike as a masterpiece and one of the best collaborative albums in the history of international music, drawing comparisons to Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder’s legendary Talking Timbuktu album. With each new project, Vieux expands his horizons, embraces new challenges and further entrenches his reputation as one of the world’s most talented and innovative musicians. Vieux has released five albums. You can find out more about his work here:

Interview carried out online by Jack Little in June 2012.


1.       What do you see as the future of the human race in one hundred years? Are you optimistic?

(Laughs).  One hundred years?!  Im thinking about this year, maybe next year.  I am not a genie, I am a guitarist!  Haha.  But in all seriousness, I think everything around us changes but we, people, we always stay the same throughout history.  So I think in 100 years our technology will be incredible to us now but people will have much of the same problems.

2.       Where are you now? How does it look/smell/feel/ sound like?

I am now in Santa Cruze - it's nice, a very beautiful place.  Its nice weather here, relaxed, no stress.  Im just in my hotel and the TV is on.  Im trying to find a good action movie.
3.       What’s the most beautiful moment you have had in the world?

Ahh, that was the birth of my daughter Hawa.  She is now almost two years old.  Everything I do is for her and for our family.
4.       What track sends a shiver up your spine each time you hear it?

There are some diabolic old recordings from the north of Mali and from Niger. That is the deepest music in the world.  Also the spike fiddle that my father used to play -- the one-string violin.  That summons the spirits in the Niger river.  That is very real and very powerful.  It makes me tremble.

5.       Please complete this sentence:
Music is…

everything. Life, love, hate, passion, violence, peace, pleasure, pain. Music is what makes us human.

Entrevista con Vieux Farka-Touré

Traduccíon por Karenina Osnaya.

1. ¿Qué ves para el futuro de la humanidad en 100 años? ¿Tu visión es optimista?

(Risas). ¿Cien años? Estoy pensando en este año, quizá el próximo. No soy el genio de la lámpara, soy un guitarrista! Ja ja. Pero ya, siendo serios, creo que todo a nuestro al rededor cambia, pero nosotros, las personas seguimos siendo los mismos durante la historia. Así que en 100 años nuestra tecnología será increíble pero de todas formas, tendremos los mismos problemas.

2. ¿Dónde estas ahora? Como se ve/huele/siente/escucha?

Estoy en Santa Cruz, es lindo, un lugar muy hermoso. Buen clima, relajado y sin estrés. Estoy en mi hotel y la televisión esta encendida. Estoy tratando de encontrar una buena película de acción.

3. Cual es el momento mas hermoso que has vivido?

Ah, el nacimiento de mi hija Hawa. Ahora ella tiene casi dos años. Todo lo que hago es para ella y nuestra familia.

4. Que pista mas te emociona cada vez que la escuchas?

Hay unas diabólicas viejas grabaciones del norte de Mali y Níger. Es la música mas profunda del mundo. También el violín de una cuerda que mi papa solía tocar. Eso evoca el espíritu del rio Níger. Es muy real y con mucho poder. Me hace temblar.

5. Completa la siguiente oración:
Música es…

Todo. Vida, amor, odio, pasión, violencia, paz, placer, dolor. La
Música es lo que nos hace humanos.