Classic Albums: Radio Mali by Ali Farka Touré

Well, I haven’t done an African album for a long time so here’s one today! All the albums tracks by Ali Farka Touré were originally recorded between 1975 and 1980 by the radio show/station live but not released until 1996 which is kind-of perfect timing for me to discover sometime around then. Some are solo and some with traditional African backing and I’ve got a few albums by him, he’s got lots but this has always been a fave of mine. It was before that mid-90’s available in France on vinyl, making these among the very first commercial records of Malian music. He’s now a well-known West African musicians of the last decades and he passed away in 2006 but guitarist-singer Ali Farka Touré was approaching the age of 50 when his self-titled album came to the attention of the world music audience in the 80’s. All these songs can be also found on his earliest albums too, Ali describes these selections as being recorded at a time when he was “an absolute fool for the guitar” which is a perfect way to describe listening to the the album as well!

I was hoping to find some good/great links about this album but it’s for sale at a lot of places which is great but other than that it’s a little bit disappointing. I guess, it comes as no big shock that an African artist’s album has not much online about it. If you do buy a copy of it? The liner notes are totally great, with old photos and a full history about the artists’ life and well worth getting it, plus English translations to all his lyrics too!

Radio Mali track listing and times:

1. “Njarka” – 0:43
2. “Yer Mali Gakoyoyo” – 4:47
3. “Soko” – 5:06
4. “Bandalabourou” – 6:41
5. “Machengoidi” – 2:41
6. “Samariya” – 5:27
7. “Hani” – 4:20
8. “Gambari” – 6:24
9. “(Njarka) Gambari” – 3:21
10. “Biennal” – 5:09
11. “Arsani” – 5:16
12. “Amadinin” – 7:08
13. “Seygalare” – 5:10
14. “Terei Kongo” – 6:08
15. “Radio Mali” – 2:43
16. “Njarka” – 1:02


This list below are my 123 favorite albums, so far because I’m in the progress of blogging a post per fave album. Now Radio Mali by Ali Farka Touré is the 124th album post!

Who else out there really loves the Radio Mali album? Or just listen now and wanna say something about it too?

Cheers 🙂



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