THE RUMBLE IN BEIJING: Vieux Farka Toure

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On January 15th at the Yugong Yishan Club, the African guitar legend – and son of the late Ali Farka Toure – rocked a packed house to wrap up his Asian tour. Our man on the ground in Beijing was there, camera in hand, and ready to document the occasion. Following the video and the text, also check out his photos from the show.

By Jonathan Levitt

Two nights ago, the Blurt Beijing team consisting of myself and Zhou Jialin made our way through Beijing’s smog choked streets to the Yugong Yishan rock club in central Beijing for a rare treat of a concert that I felt I had to share with the Blurt readership. Vieux deserves every accolade thrown at him. He is the true heir to his father’s musical legacy. Vacillating between traditional Bambara songs, blues, and more rock oriented workouts, Vieux cuts a commanding presence on stage. The concert which lasted for about an hour and forty-five minutes, spanned both his older material as well as a few new songs. The near-capacity crowd shook their asses to the beat and hung on every note that Vieux coaxed from his guitar.

This was the final show of the Asian leg of their tour and you could tell because everything seemed to have a relaxed flow about it. Hell, they even sold the calabash drum to the highest bidder at the end of the concert! The following day, Vieux flew back to Mali where he’ll remain until April when the US tour begins in earnest. This is one show you won’t want to miss.

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A little of my own background for Blurt readers. When I worked for Rykodisc records in their international promotions department in 1995, I was fortunate enough to be invited with my then boss to travel to NYC to watch the late great Ali Farka Toure give a free concert in Central Park. After the show, I went back stage to meet the legendary guitarist. It was truly an awe-inspiring moment, that I continue to cherish. Talking Timbuktu was the album they played and to this day it remains one of my favorite records of all time.

Filmed by Jonathan Levitt and Zhou Jialin exclusively for Blurt Magazine. If you’d like to use this video, feel free to contact Levitt through Blurt. Special thanks to Vieux Toure and Marshall Henry. For more inforon Vieux Farka Toure visit his website at http://www.sixdegreesrecords.com/1971…
or http://vieuxfarkatoure.com . This concert film was shot on the mighty Nokia Lumia 1020 and edited on Adobe Premiere. Below, check out photos from the same show.

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(Vieux Farka Toure and Jonathan Levitt)

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(Toure and Zhou Jialin)

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(bassist Marshall Henry)

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(Zhou Jialin’s tattoo)

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(hand stamps from the concert)

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