Daby Touré: Amonafi

Toure2Just This Once

Listening Post 46. Amonafi (Once Upon a Time) is a collection of stories by a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter. Born in Mauritania, raised in Senegal and transplanted to France, Daby Touré has fashioned the strands of his life and musical influences (Afrobeat, folk, pop, soul, jazz) into a sparkling panorama of African identity, exile and migration, sorrows, dreams and—above all—women. His songs are bittersweet and playful, carried by his rich voice, variously described as warm, assertive, acrobatic and ethereal. He sings in West African languages—Wolof, Soninke, Pular and one tongue of his own creation. Oma (Call Me) is both a reggae-toned ballad of immigrant solidarity and the tale of a mother’s cry—inspired by a Romanian woman Touré saw one day begging with her children on a Paris street (video 1). Woyoyoye (A Cry) is the lament of a man in love with a beautiful woman who lights up the entire neighborhood (video 2). Lovesickness is also the focus of Little Song: “I can no longer breathe/I no longer sleep at night/My friends don’t recognize me,” he sings, “Should I see a healer to ward off the spell? (video 3). Other key tracks are the title song, a fable of idyllic Africa upended by slavery; Emma (Mother), in which a disillusioned man recalls maternal advice; and Debho (Women), a tribute to those who carry society on their shoulders. Once upon a time, and multiple times on his fifth album, Touré spins the strands of his life into golden sound. (Cumbancha)


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