Live Review and Photos: Vieux Farka Toure @ Brisbane Powerhouse 16 January 2010

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Vieux Farka Toure
[Photo: Jose Eduardo Cruz]
  Review: Jose Eduardo Cruz
One of the most beautiful things about music is that you don’t need to speak a specific language to appreciate it. There are thousands of artists that don’t speak a word of English, but still manage to have ability to transcend the language barrier and deliver their musical message.

Tonight’s entire offerings were sung completely in a language other then English. The fact that most of the audience did not understand a single word of what was being said was not a deterrent for everyone to have an absolutely enjoyable night.

The support act comprised of three African artists from West End, Brisbane. They offered a warm set to set the wheels in motion. It never fails to amaze me what can be achieved with three instruments. These weren’t ordinary instruments, two of which the audience had never seen and would probably never see again.

Vieux Farka Toure arrived in Brisbane after three days of flying across the world. With his very limited English he engaged the audience after every song. He tried so hard to explain every song, but simply ran out of English words to put across the significance of his art. In reality, there was no need to explain what he was signing about the music spoke for itself. Nonetheless, his efforts were applauded vigorously.

The true artist plays for himself first and secondly for audience and the ones that find that perfect balance between the two become great artist. Vieux had that essential element that made him great to watch, listen and appreciate.

There were moments when he would forget that he was performing in front of the few hundreds that made a date with him. He would give the cheekiest of smiles to his rhythm guitarist and bassists and all of a sudden they were all dancing in a straight line without a care in the world. At times it was a jam session, call and response, and at times simple genius.

One of the most interesting things to be pointed out is that Vieux played the entire show on an electric guitar without a pick. Now that is achievable is you are plucking slow cords etc, but it becomes an amazing spectacle when what is being played is a massive solo at high tempo using the whole fret board. This really has to be seen to be truly felt and understood.

He concluded with massive a smile and an immense amount of gratitude and promised to improve his English for the next time he visited.

It is always such a pleasure to be present at events that fly under the radar in the local music scene, but deliver so much. We eagerly await his return.