Review: Sidi Touré – Toubalbero

It’s a miracle that any of these songs come to an end. The momentum of Sidi Touré is circular and frictionless, with intricate guitars whirling around syncopated beats, and bass picking the exact movements to apply and relieve weight. The songs spin like pinwheels on a cool breeze that never subsides, always coming back round, renewed and uplifted in their return, gradually melting the sensation that there ever was a beginning, and suspending all thoughts around the ebb of time and energy, solidifying a vibrant forever in the now. Touré’s voice is like a fountain that consolidates all of this energy into an upward spurt, lingering upon vowels, bouncing between call and response, teasing with repetitions that shrink and stretch with each iteration. When he falls silent, his energy redistributes to elsewhere – guitar solos emerge that dance dextrously upon those tiny platforms of syncopated beat.

The track “Heyyeya”, is based on a song within Songhai folklore that speaks of the joy of a new marriage, and the whole album is full of moments that mimic those sudden jolts of newfound pleasure (most viscerally expressed when Touré emits shrieks of irrepressible excitement over the groove). Yet the real joy of Toubalbero is that every single moment brims with the joy of that initial rush of the new. There are no diminishing returns here. As the guitars shimmy in ceaseless duet, forever finding fresh ways to connect with one another; as Touré adjusts vocal emphasis to bring different emotional hues to every word; repetition acts as a framework for a music that ultimately does anything but repeat, as each ripple of return renders itself beautiful and distinct.