Sidi Touré – Koïma

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Sidi Touré – “Maïmouna”

My girlfriend Anna and I saw Sidi Touré and his band at The Falcon last week. He was featured on Splinters & Candy back in October. Sidi comes from Gao, Mali and plays traditional music with traces of Western blues and rock. His live band included an acoustic guitarist, calabash player / backup singer, and a traditional violin (sokou) player. It was amazing to hear how much music came out of these four musicians. The harmony between the two acoustic guitars and the sokou put me in a trance. There were several times when Sidi, his guitarist and the sokou player would huddle close together and play right up against the audience while they locked into a steady groove with their smiles beaming in the spotlight.

Throughout the show, Sidi spoke enthusiastically about his songs and the meaning of Koïma, the title of his latest record which translates to “go hear.” Koïma is an important part of Gao, “a dune with his feet in the waters of the river Niger, and with his head touching the sky,” says Sidi. In Malian folklore, Koïma is the meeting place for the most powerful wizards of the world. The dune’s chief gave Sidi permission to go on the dune and swim in the Niger. His record, Koïma, is an offering to the magical powers of that sacred place. Listen to “Maïmouna” above to get hooked. Sidi is currently on tour in support of the album and will be back in New York on August 6th at Marcus Garvey Park as part of SummerStage. Koïma is out now on Thrill Jockey, so grab the LP/CD at your local record store.

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