In the wake of the democratic election of Mali’s new president, years of political unrest leading to the takeover of his homeland, Gao, and his subsequent relocation to Mali’s capital, Bamako; Sidi Toure took to the stage once again at the Highline Ballroom. Dressed impressively in a white boubou, and showered by blue lights, Sidi smiled brightly as he began strumming his guitar.
Introducing songs in French and singing in Songhai, the local language of Gao, Sidi engaged an eager audience with nimble fingering and crisp vocals. Very much dedicated to discussing the recent events in Mali, the songs were at times slow and contemplative. Guided by a bluesy style and a full voice tempered with solemnity, Toure speaks on many topics; from inadequate distribution of medications in Mali, to the sharing of power and land. However, Sidi did not dwell on the negative as he quickly transitioned to uplifting riffs and soaring lyrical highs. “La paix!” (peace) he proudly sang with energy and life inspiring the audience to join the refrain.
Accompanied by a single n’goni player whose masterful solos ceaselessly pulled the audience into the music, Sidi Toure undoubtedly succeeds in captivating with some of Mali’s greatest sounds. The one curtain call, while a crowd pleaser, was simply not enough. Eager to hear more from this great talent we’ll just have to wait for the next show. Luckily for New Yorkers, Toure is playing again on Oct 5th at the BAM cafe, accompanied by Cajun musician Cedric Watson.