Yoshi's Jazz Club & Japanese Restaurant on Fillmore Street just added the following concerts at its world-renowned San Francisco venue: Vieux Farka Toure (Sun, Feb 3, 8pm), Odd Owl & Foxtails Brigade (Sun, Feb 10, 7pm), Renee Wilson & The Marcus Shelby Trio (Fat Tuesday, Feb 12, 8pm) and Cassandra Wilson (Thu-Sat, Feb 21-23, 8 & 10pm).
VIEUX FARKA TOURE
Sun, Feb 3, 8pm
Tickets on sale Thu, Dec 13, 10am
Often referred to as "The Hendrix of the Sahara," Vieux Farka Toure was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Toure, who died in 2006. Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father disapproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed.
In 2005, Eric Herman (still Vieux's manager today) of Modiba Productions expressed an interest in producing an album for Vieux; this led to Vieux's self-titled debut album, Vieux Farka Toure (World Village/2007). Ali Farka Touré's work to tackle the problem of malaria is continued as 10% of proceeds are donated to Modiba's "Fight Malaria" campaign in Niafunké through which over 3000 mosquito nets have been delivered to children and pregnant women in the Timbuktu region of Mali. On this first album, Vieux pays homage to his father and follows Ali's musical tradition, giving new versions of the West African music that is echoed in the American blues. The album features Toumani Diabaté, as well as his late father. One of the tracks, 'Courage,' is on the soundtrack of the film The First Grader (2010).
On his second record, Fondo (Six Degrees/2009), Vieux branched out and presented his own sound: while remaining true to The Roots of his father's music he uses elements of rock, Latin music, and other African influences. The album received a great deal of critical acclaim from across the globe, and Vieux was clearly moving out of his father's shadow.
In June 2010, Vieux performed at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. That month Vieux also released his first live album, Vieux Farka Toure Live (Six Degrees/2010). His live performances are highly energized and Vieux is known for dazzling crowds with his speed and dexterity on the guitar, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile, both of which captivate audiences from all audiences in spite of any language barriers (though Vieux does speak eight languages).
In 2011, Vieux released his third studio album, The Secret (Six Degees/2011), so named because the listener will hear the secret of the blues with a blend of generations from father to son. It was produced by guitarist Eric Krasno (of the Soulive trio) and features South African-born vocalist Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks on electric slide guitar and jazz guitarist John Scofield. The title track is the last collaboration between Vieux and his late father.
With the heralded release of The Secret, Vieux Farka Toure has clearly established himself as one of the world's rare musical talents and guitar virtuosos with a distinct style that always pays homage to the past while looking towards the future.
ODD OWL & FOXTAILS BRIGADE
Sun, Feb 10, 7pm
$8 (advance); $12 (door)
Tickets on sale now
Odd Owl: Some bands create music to fit a genre. Others, like San Francisco-based Odd Owl, create a genre to fit their music. "It's pretty hard for us to make music that isn't honest about who we are," says Caruso, Odd Owl's lead singer and keyboardist. "What we create is just an extension of our musical experiences, it's not some role we're trying to play. Besides," she laughs, "I've never been very good at acting anyways." Said to "produce some incredible new era indie music" [Br00d, Neighbors Hate Us], the group's members have fused their musical influences together into their own brand of "indie dance-rock," drawing from genres such as chamber pop, funk, lo-fi, and alternative dance.