By Derek York
You will find Koima in the “World Music” or “Folk” bin at your local record shop. Both descriptions are technically correct, but there is a quality to Sidi Toure’s second album that harkens more to dirty blues, 70’s southern rock, or the sound of a great metal band going acoustic.
Koima has the exoticness one might expect from a musician from Mali, but it’s also full of technical, ear-pleasing acoustic guitar riffs laid over jazzy back-up singers and traditional Malian instrumental accompaniment. Toure’s vocal style, while exotic, feels familiar, like an old blues man or a Woodstock activist.
“Maimouna,” the second track, is what I imagine R.L. Burnside would have come up with had he gone to India with the Beatles during their experimental phase.
“Kalaa ay Makoiy (I must go)” is something you’d almost expect to hear in an roadside bar thick with smoke and stale beer.
Toure’s songs don’t seemed designed to start a revolution, but they may aid in that process in his home country of Mail, which experienced a governmental coup in March. I don’t know what its like to battle the presence of the Taliban destroying monuments of my culture’s ancient past, but Koima seems like a suitable soundtrack for overcoming one’s oppressors.[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkhFK0X-P_8]
Sidi Toure plays the Crocodile in Seattle tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.