[Cross-posted at Amazon's page for Niafunké]
Let's be honest: Music that gives pleasure to the listener is, relatively speaking, a dime a dozen. We hear it on the oldies stations; our collections are filled with such music. Far rarer is music for which the listener feels genuine, profound gratitude to its maker for having made and for his/her own great, good fortune for having heard of it before s/he died. Niafunké
is most definitely on my list of such music.
I don't believe I had even heard of Ali Farka Touré
before a friend played Niafunké for me almost ten years ago. A couple of songs in, and I actually felt something like shame that I had not known about this man and his music long before: it was--and is--that good, that gripping and compelling.
The first four songs give the listener an idea of this album's musical range: "Ali's Here," a rave-up that prepared me, without knowing, for Tinariwen
; "Allah Uya," a song whose melody and rhythm, despite its religious subject matter…