Artist: Ali Farka Toure
For his first album since 1994, Ali Farka Toure decided to go back to his roots - in more ways than one. NIAFUNKE was named for the artist's home village in Mali. In addition to recording the album on location in Niafunke, the album also reflects a shift back to the artist's musical heritage. Toure tones down the Western influences in favor of a sound that incorporates more acoustic instrumentation as well as a heavier emphasis on Malian voices and indigenous instruments of Kenya (including the njarka, djembe, conga drums and African choir vocals). The result of this cultural shift is an album that is not only more personal, but also expands the scope of African blues music.