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Ali Farka Toure: Springing From The Roots

Excellent music docu lets Malian guitar great Ali Farka Toure do the talking, both as musician and as a kind of cultural diplomat and all-purpose big shot, as he travels around his surprisingly diverse African nation. "Springing From the Roots" should be transferred to 35mm and launched on the music-pic circuit, which has been widened by the success of "Buena Vista Social Club."

Excellent music docu lets Malian guitar great Ali Farka Toure do the talking, both as musician and as a kind of cultural diplomat and all-purpose big shot, as he travels around his surprisingly diverse African nation. “Springing From the Roots” should be transferred to 35mm and launched on the music-pic circuit, which has been widened by the success of “Buena Vista Social Club.”

This one-hour French effort isn’t big on bio details and doesn’t really explore the kinship between the singer’s bluesy guitar playing and the back-porch sounds of the American South, but that connection is made plain as Toure is seen traveling throughout his country, in both dusty outback and lush coastal towns, and twanging his hypnotic ax. What’s more, this part-time farmer has become a virtual cottage industry (and a bit of a clotheshorse, to boot), promoting different businesses and inspiring younger musicians to play their instruments on the world stage, as seen in well-recorded segs of players influenced by his style — some of which this African John Lee Hooker cheerfully joins in with.

Ali Farka Toure: Springing From The Roots

France

Production: A Les Films du Village (Paris) production in association with CNCP (Mali), RFO and Mezzo. Produced by Yves Billon, Henry Lecomte. Directed, written by Yves Billon, Henry Lecomte.

Crew: Camera (color; Beta-sp), Billon; editors, Billon, Lecomte, Soazig Chappedelaine, William Morrison; sound, Philippe Chesmeau. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival, Sept. 18, 2000. Running time: 52 MIN. With: Ali Farka Toure, musicians of Mali.

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