Ali Farka Toure was awarded Mali’s highest civil honor on Wednesday as a dense storm of sand and dust delayed his funeral in Niafunke, his Saharan hometown.
President Amadou Toumani Toure made Ali Farka Toure a Commander of the National Order at a ceremony in Bamako.
“Farka is a monument of Malian music, Farka is the pride of Mali”
Ali was widely regarded as a peace-maker, notably singing in all the national languages during the time of civil war.
His body was supposed to have been flown to Niafunke near Timbuktu but a sandstorm grounded planes, and mourners instead were forced to travel the 850 km overland in a convoy of jeeps.
Read our full interview with Ali conducted in his house in Bamako about a year before his death. This is the piece referenced by the New York Times
Pictures of Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté playing the Barbican here on our sister site Flykr and a review of the gig here.
Read the review of In the Heart of the Moon
Also released recently are the wonderful Red and Green albums
Read about Ali playing the Segou Festival in Mali and see Lydia Martin’s pictures of the event on Flykr
Finally, Robin Denselow has written a fine obituary in the Guardian
–Photo by Damian Rafferty–