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Baker's Dozen

Languages Inhabited: Teju Cole's Favourite Albums
Teju Cole , August 24th, 2016 09:28

Following the publication of his first collection of essays, Known And Strange Things, the writer and photographer pens us his own Baker's Dozen, picking "as many kinds of albums that really mattered to me as possible"


Ali Farka Touré With Ry Cooder – Talking Timbuktu
Ry Cooder is another chameleon, another white man among the natives. But he is a more humble one, glad to listen, play his part, and let the music flow. His project with the Buena Vista Social Club is the staple of every cafe now, from Vancouver to Calcutta, but for me, his two most stupendous world music forays were A Meeting by the River, with the Indian slide-guitar maestro, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, and Talking Timbuktu with the greatest of the Malian bluesmen, Ali Farka Touré.

In his later years, Ali Farka Touré made good on the promise of his already legendary youth and released a number of fantastic recordings on the World Circuit label. But it was on this one, with Cooder backing him, that I feel he ascended into musical paradise. Tracks like 'Gomni' and 'Lasidan', music of vastness and blinding light, with their interweaving lines and repeated figures, are what sleeping guitars dream off in their plush dark cases.