MARCH 7, 2006
Malian musical legend Ali Farka Touré dies at 67by Tom Pryor
Ali Farka Touré, one of Africa's musical giants, died on Tuesday after a protracted battle with bone cancer, according to an announcement from the Ministry of Culture of Mali. Touré died peacefully in his sleep. He was 67 years old.
Touré was one of the true giants of African music, a protean guitarist often described by Westerners as a "living link" between American blues and the music's African roots. But Touré was as much an innovator as he was immersed in Malian musical tradition, and he parlayed his popularity into various high-profile, occasionally experimental collaborations. Touré took home a GRAMMY in 1994 for his album with American guitarist Ry Cooder Talking Timbuktu, and another in 2006 for In the Heart of the Moon, a collaboration with Malian griot Toumani Diabate.
Touré also used his international acclaim to promote Malian music abroad, and was both a generous collaborator and gracious hostoften opening the doors of his home to local and foreign musicians alike. He was also a well-respected landowner in his Northern hometown of Niafunke, and was elected mayor there in 2004. Loved, respected and considered a national treasure by the people of Mali, radio stations in the Malian capital, Bamako, have suspended regular programming to play his music.
Touré will be buried in his hometown of Niafunke on Wednesday, according to authorities. He is survived by his wife and 11 children.