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Vieux Farka Touré & Khruangbin, 'Savanne'

Vieux Farka Toure and Khruangbin
Vieux Farka Toure and Khruangbin

Vieux Farka Touré has been associated with "desert blues" ever since he released his self-titled debut in 2007, but he absorbs more styles than this Mali-meets-Mississippi-Delta moniker suggests. Enter Khruangbin, the Texas trio whose sonic alchemy starts with a base of soul and R&B, then adds styles from locales like Thailand, India and Iran to make for a spellbinding musical brew.

Together, they pay tribute to Vieux's father, the late Ali Farka Touré, in the collection simply titled Ali (out Sept. 23). "Savanne" is their first offering, a loping, labyrinthine fusion of dub, blues and Malian grooves. Vieux's vocals, sung in French, add to the simmering, hypnotic effect of the music. Even when translated, lines like "I left my country and my Louisiana / But in other countries, goodbye Savanne" portray a scene of being lost in a parched, strange land while thirsting after the illusion of water in the distance.

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Joe Kendrick