Peanut Butter Knife

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

RIP: Ali Farka Toure & Ivor Cutler

The music world lost two of it's most original voices yesterday with the deaths of Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure & British poet/songwriter/humorist Ivor Cutler.


Toure was often credited as a sort of "missing link" between African music and American blues. The similarities are hard to mistake, and his music certainly has all the soul and grit that we associate with the blues. He's recorded several albums that have garnered domestic release, mostly on his own and a few in collaboration with others, such as Ry Cooder. Anyone who listens to PRI's "The World" on NPR will be familiar with his sound. That's Toure playing the little guitar riff during the "Geo Quiz" segment.

You can sample his music here. The link to "The World" above has an archival interview with Toure as well.

I was less familiar with Cutler's work, though American audiences might know him from appearing in the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour or through the late British DJ John Peel's championing of his work. Prior to yesterday, I had only heard a handful of his songs. I became aware of him through Jim O'Rourke's cover of "Women of the World", but never got around to exploring him in greater detail. Cutler's music reflects a certain brand of silliness inherent in all the best British humor from Monty Python to Ricky Gervais. His songs were often unbelievably short, but posses an undeniable charm.

You can listen to some Cutler selections here, but in honor of Blog Against Sexism Day, I recommend this song.

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