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. When they weren't in the studio, the musicians would spend time in manager Philippe's home, listening to the work in progress. They would all give their input on new ideas, new arrangements, new approaches, ready for the next studio session. It involved a lot of talking, a lot of tea and coffee and a lot of laughter.
Longtime friend and bandmate Baba Simaga played in Samba's earlier band, Farafina Lolo, and on this project lends his hand to recording, production and playing bass. For Samba, working with Baba is like working with family. Also part of the recording was Oumar Touré, the longtime congas player for Ali Farka Touré. Bouri Séré grew up playing modern drums, but left the instrument in order to concentrate on the calabash for a more authentic sonra&;iuml sound, while the youngest member of the band, Djimé Sissoko, plays ngoni and tamani (talking drum) and, despite his age, is one of the greatest tamani players in Bamako.
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.