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17 août 2008

The global soul-tinged pop of Daby Toure

Between the rain-swept streets of Paris and the swirling sands of the Sahara, there lies a voice that is neither and both of these music-soaked places. Musician Daby Touré, son of the African desert and child of a Parisian musical upbringing, has created new boundaries and categories that go beyond territory, ethnicity or birthright with new release Stereo Spirit. Singer/songwriter Daby Touré explores the vivid common frontiers of African, jazz and pop music live at the baby grand in Wilmington on Monday, August 4 at 8pm.

This musician's life started out in Mauritania, where the Sahara, the world's largest hot desert, divides northern Arabic Africa with southern black Africa. There, in the village of Djeole on the banks of the verdant River Senegal, he grew up surrounded by music and a feast of languages and cultures. "I was born in Africa," mentions Touré. "And all the traditional music I picked up when I was young is still in me and that doesn't change. But in my music I am still searching, and mixing, and trying things and that's what I am doing now. I have travelled far from the 'traditional' or 'folkloric' music of my country."

His 2007 release Stereo Spirit attempts to offer some kind of musical solace in troubled times. "My songs are about giving people an emotion, making them feel good, just for a few moments," says Touré. "What I'm trying to do is to give people the best moment possible while listening to this album, even if they don't understand what I am talking about because I'm not speaking a language they understand."
Daby Touré's lyrics are a complex interplay between languages, both European and African. Along with French and English, he mixes Wolof with Soninké and Pulaar, the languages of his childhood that represent the different cultures that abound on the African continent.

"Stereo Spirit is a testament to the power of music to transcend linguistic barriers. Touré's sweetly haunting vocals and striking melodies have an ability to touch the listener, whether or not they share a common language. This isn't an album that takes time to appreciate; its effects are immediate and long lasting. From the first time you hear it, prepare to hum along, tap your toes, and be mesmerized by Daby's infectious brand of global soul-tinged pop"…"after one listening, you won't be able to get this album out of your head," says BBC reviewer Jan Gilbert.

"When you travel in Africa," says Touré, "you understand that people are really different, that there are so many different cultures and mindsets. And sometimes that can really complicate things because we don't speak the same language. What I am trying to do in this album is to say to people, 'look, we have to speak the same language, for our future and for the future of our children. We have to forget our differences so we can take steps towards becoming more powerful, more united as Africans for when we want to talk to the rest of the world.'"

With Touré's rich voice soaring through the songs that are sometimes only accompanied by the punctuated tapping of his fingers on the fret board, it is easy to see that this latest work Stereo Spirit - created over a three-month period in 2006 - is a one-man work of serious personal expression. Touré has already supported Peter Gabriel on the Still Growing Up tour, appeared on the main stage at WOMAD 2004 in Berkshire, and was nominated for best newcomer in the BBC Awards for World Music in 2006.

Contributed by the Arden Club Concert Music Gild • July 28, 2008

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