Sunday, January 20, 2008


Niafunke is the town where Ali Farke Toure was born, lived, and died just a bit over a year ago.

More than anyone, he has probably brought Malian music international acclaim [I'll get competing arguments here, I'm sure], and raised the profile of the possibility (much-debated) of American blues originating from slaves sent over from West Africa to pick cotton. It's a terribly dusty and fairly decrepit-looking town, but a great chance to stretch the legs.

If you are interested in Ali Farke Toure, "Talking Timbuktu" with Ry Cooder is probably the easiest introduction for those not used to Malian music. Other recommendations include "In the Heart of the Moon" and "Savane", or the clasic "Radio Mali".

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An inveterate traveler, who has explored all seven continents, Neil centres his freelance writing today on travel.
Published work includes travel writing in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Buffalo News, Travel Scoop and The Wonderful World of Budget Travel. Featured destinations include: Toronto, Ontario; Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Qufu, China; Oaxaca, Mexico; Jersey, Channel Islands; Trans-Siberian Express.
Neil’s photography focuses on finding images of the worlds he visits that capture the essence of “place”. Whether photographing landscapes, archaeological sites or locals, the goal is to make a picture emotive of what brought one there.
Photography has been published in Camera Canada, Foto Flash, Minolta Mirror and travel publications, as well as displayed at gallery exhibits in Toronto.