Vieux Farka Touré showed New York on Saturday night that you can maintain tradition and still rock. Vieux and his band played a tight set to an audience at the Highline Ballroom that was enthusiastic despite the remarkably early hour. (The show started before 7:30 and was done by 10:15, a time at which typical African bands would just be getting warmed up!
Vieux carries on the Malian blues tradition style popularized by his father, Ali Farka Touré, but adds a few more modern elements. The result was an incredibly spirited show that had the crowd moving all night!
The BLK JKS (prounounced Blackjacks) from South Africa, played a reggae-tinged fusion-style music. While their sound was very different than Vieux’s, the two bands managed to come together at the end of the night to play “Sarama,” a tune from Vieux’s latest album, Fondo, ending in a friendly guitar battle — plagued by technical difficulties — between Vieux and BLK JKS guitarist Lindani Buthelezi.