Samba Touré
Samba Touré


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  • Djimé Sissoko (ngoni, tamani)
  • Ibrahima Séré (calabash)
  • Mamadou Sidibé (bass, vocals, electronics)
  • Samba Touré (guitar, vocals)


Born on 15 June 1968, Samba grew up in Dabi, a small village in the Tombouctou region of Mali. Samba’s father passed away just before his birth, leaving his mother to raise him alongside his brother, Ibrahima ‘Bouri’ Séré. Although they could not afford formal education, he was surrounded by music from an early age and his mother was one of the first women to sing with the young Ali Farka Touré at the Biennale Festival in Mali.

When he was old enough, Samba left for the Malian capital, Bamako, in the hopes of finding a job. There, he heard the popular guitar-driven dance music of Zaire for the first time and, inspired, began singing and playing guitar in a band called Farafina Lolo (Africa Star), with his brother Bouri on the drums and Baba Simaga on the bass guitar.

During that time, he fell in love with the music of Ali Farka Touré, a true original who was transposing the traditional music of his native north Mali and single-handedly bringing the style known as desert blues to an international audience. Samba was entranced by this master from Niafunké and began to play the guitar in the same style, adapting his playing from traditional string instruments on to an electric guitar.

When Farafina Lolo split up in the mid-1990s, Samba briefly joined another group, Super Lolo, before leaving in order to concentrate on composing. In 1997, Farka Touré offered him the unique opportunity to tour with him as part of his band. Delighted, Samba accepted and, while touring across Europe and the USA, his mentor opened his eyes to a variety of new influences. Farka Touré inspired him to create his own blues style and, on his return to Mali, formed Fondo. He recorded then his first solo effort “Fondo” which was a huge success in Mali.

 In 2005, Samba played in the album Taama of Amadou Guitteye with guests as Toumani Diabaté, Vieux Farka Touré or Baba Sissoko for 2 tracks he composed. Recording sessions took place in Cologne (Germany)

In 2007, he released « Aïto » in Mali, and toured intensively in west-african festivals.

In 2008 Samba Touré is signed by World Music Network, for « Songhaï blues, Homage to Ali Farka Touré », his first international production.Samba Touré creates a harmonious blend of River Niger blues, traditional Songhai themes and Western influences. Like most Malian songs, Samba’s lyrics convey moral messages as well as introducing us to different elements of Malian culture, such as the importance of family. Bursting with energy, Samba Touré’s music continues the blues legacy of the late, great Ali Farka Touré.

Samba Touré is the Malian guitarist, vocalist and composer whose distinctive style is widely regarded both at home and abroad as both reflecting and enhancing the enduring legacy of the legendary Ali Farka Touré. So it was that, in 2010, Toumani Diabaté turned to Samba to play alongside him on his ‘Ali Farka Touré Variations Tour’. It seemed a natural choice to pass the baton to Samba and have him represent Ali Farka Touré’s guitar style on the tour.

Recorded on visits back to Mali, Crocodile Blues is Samba Touré’s second international release and a giant leap forward for the Malian bluesman. His carefully crafted compositions demonstrate his own style, through his use of a variety of colours, languages, rhythms and feelings. Many of the songs represent different ethnicities and regions, as Samba sings for peace and unity in Mali.

Recording Crocodile Blues in Bamako was a real pleasure. The studio sessions took place during Ramadan and were scheduled for the evening time to aid the flow of the music. The relaxed surroundings and close relationships of all those involved in the recording is reflected in the final result.

With these musicians, Samba has created an album of relaxed beauty and plenty of heart. He remains a man of great friendship and fidelity. He sings songs of tribute to close friends, as well as songs of love to his wife and dedications to children and their mothers. Samba celebrates the role of women in the lives of their families and also the life of a nation. Many great women have been pivotal in the development of Mali, and Samba pays tribute to them on the track ‘Moussoya’, accompanied by Oumou Sangaré as a special guest vocalist. 

In December 2011, Samba received a Tamani d’Or, Malian Award for “Crocodile Blues” the best international CD of the year. Samba toured summer 2012 through Europe with memorable shows in Amsterdam Paradiso + North Sea Jazz Club, and Budapest Sziget Festival. 

Then he recorded a new album “ALBALA” 2013 on Glitterbeat Records, featuring guest Hugo Race and produced By Chris Eckman. The album was acclaimed worldwide as one of the best African release of the year. Two years after, Samba recorded a new album, Gandadiko, released on Glitterbeat Records in January 2015. The album reached N°2 position in WMCE and has a lot of positive feedback from the international press and professionals. The release was followed by to succesfull European tour in 2015 and 2016.

"Touré's hypnotic guitar grooves, unshakable vocals and commanding lyrics raise the music to a level of profound artistry" - Afropop

"Abala is essential listening" - The QUIETUS

"An instant classic. This is a record full of passion, eloquence and incredible music." - fROOTS

"A real gem” - The Independent

“Touré sounds at his best. An album of menacing, slow-burn songs reflecting on a rough year in Mali” - MOJO

"His voice is resonant, the rhythms have a relentless groove and his guitar burns with the intensity of the desert sun. Samba is a man whose time has come" - Songlines

"The music is mature and confident, with Touré's quietly commanding voice matched against insistent bass riffs and guitar work. Impressive." - **** The Guardian

"Spectacularly inventive, measured and strong. The voices and the instruments play off each other with real spirit and dimension, creating a spacy, almost theatrical experience. " - ***** fROOTS

"For anyone who feels that the well of American blues is almost drained, it may be times to switch continents." - **** The Times

"Wild eclecticism and experimentalism that touches the sould" - ClashMusic

***** London Evening Standard

**** Irish Times