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Vieux Farka Tour to Kick Off WMI's 'Desert Blues' Series at (Le) Poisson Rouge

World Music Institute launches its brand new concert series, Desert Blues, with Vieux Farka Touré on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 8 p.m. (dj.henri from Radio Africa Online to spin a set at 7:00 p.m) at (Le) Poisson Rouge, located at 158 Bleecker Street. This second-generation Malian guitar hero-"the Hendrix of the Sahara"- is the son of legendary guitarist Ali Farka Touré.

From WMI Artistic Director Par Neiburger: "We are excited to begin our Desert Blues concert series with a true family legacy show, Vieux Farka Touré-the son of Ali Farka Touré, the artist who first introduced Africa's Desert Blues tradition to audiences around the world. There is perhaps no more fitting way to begin this series. Vieux Farka Touré is a truly incredible performer, one of Africa's most powerful contemporary voices. He has often been compared to Jimi Hendrix, just as his father was compared to John Lee Hooker. Yet the music of both Vieux and his father as a cross-section of traditional Malian music and its North American counterpart, the blues, demonstrates how this African tradition is in fact believed to be the root of the North American blues genre. Vieux Farka Touré continues this tradition that is at once both folkloric and modern."

Often referred to as "The Hendrix of the Sahara," Vieux Farka Touré is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, the artist mainly responsible for introducing Africa's desert blues tradition to audiences around the world. Despite his father's initial discouragement, Vieux secretly took up the guitar. His first album featured tracks recorded with his late father as well as as African kora legend Toumani Diabate. Vieux subsequently branched out and developed his own sound while remaining true to the roots of his father's music. He has gone on to receive critical acclaim from across the globe, moving out of his father's shadow and garnering a loyal, worldwide fan-base.

The concert marks the debut of WMI's new DESERT BLUES series. The series features artists from the Saharan region of Africa who are torchbearers of an African musical tradition, traced by ethnomusicologists as having existed there for centuries. The late Ali Farka Toure? once said of the desert blues tradition in his country: "We've been playing this music for hundreds of years. The guys in Mississippi are playing American-Malian music, not the other way around."

Desert Blues continues with Rokia Traoré (10/30 at Symphony Space), Boubacar Traoré (12/2 at the Met Museum), and Noura Mint Seymali (2/24 at LPR). Tickets: $30 in advance / $35 at the door. Visit for more information.

Founded in 1985 as a not-for-profit, World Music Institute (WMI) has served as the leading presenter of world music and dance within the United States.

WMI is committed to presenting the finest in traditional and contemporary music and dance from around the world with the goal of inspiring wonder for world cultures through music and dance. WMI aims to enrich the lives of people living in New York by promoting awareness of other cultures and their traditions. WMI collaborates with community organizations and academic institutions in fostering greater understanding and appreciation of the world's cultural traditions and presents at venues throughout the city.

Under new leadership since 2015, its 30th anniversary season, World Music Institute has introduced an ambitious expansion of concert offerings that include contemporary, experimental and avant-garde presentations, as well as the traditional music that WMI has long been known and admired for. In addition, the institution is thrilled to have launched new partnerships with BAM, 92nd Street Y, SummerStage, Merkin Concert Hall, National Sawdust, Storm King Art Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Littlefield and Drom-while continuing partnerships with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Town Hall, Symphony Space, French Institute Alliance Française, and Apollo Theater (the annual Africa Now festival).

WMI has presented more than 1,500 concerts and events featuring artists from more than 100 countries across all continents. Through powerful programming, WMI is creating a movement that promotes awareness and engagement of other cultures, helping to encourage deeper understanding of communities around the globe.

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