Given the difficult conditions which have faced Mali’s musical culture over the past year, the burst of creative response that the crisis and war have elicited from the nation’s musicians has been nothing less than astounding. The latest in a string of brilliant releases (including gems from artists like Vieux Farke Toure and Samba Touré) is Alafia, the third album from Songhaï guitarist Sidi Toure, to be released by Chicago’s Thrill Jockey Records later this month. Following on the heels of the lauded Koïma, Alafia sees Toure expand his usual ensemble with addition of masterful northern artists including Leïla Gobbi, Berté Ibrahim, and Baba Salah.
Given our excitement over this release, Afropop is delighted to premier “Ay Hora,” the first video from the album. Filmed in front of Sidi’s house in Bamako, the song is (unusually) fast paced takamba, featuring a fleshed out groove far denser than often spare work that Sidi has recorded in the past. The vibe is warm and down home throughout, with some remarkable dancing from both the singers on stage and one particularly expressive headscarfed man. If this video is any indicative of the rest of the album, Alafia will see the Sidi extend and deepen his already impressive talent. Watch for more Sidi soon, and in the meantime? Enjoy the video!