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Farewell Ali

Can we trace Mississippi blues back to Africa? Ali Farka Touré thought so

By Nick Crowe   April 2006

Much has been written about the blues, its gallery of reluctant, hard-drinking showmen and their lo-fi recordings. Relatively little is known about their earlier incarnations among the slave communities of Louisiana and the Mississippi delta. Even less certain is their music’s African roots, a genealogy which runs from the 17th and 18th-century slave deportations right back to the assimilation of Islamic culture in western Africa centuries earlier. The blues is arguably the genre of music that has most influenced western popular culture. To discover the source of the blues would be to find the holy grail of pop.

Ali Farka…

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