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Vieux Farka Toure, son of Grammy-winning guitarist Ali, brings his full band (including Mama Sissoko on ngoni) to the UK for his first UK headline gig, and in a world exclusive, is joined by Pee Wee Ellis, legendary saxophonist to James Brown, for their first ever performance together.

July 8th 2007
Cheese & Grain, Market Yard,
Frome, BA11 1BE, UK
Box Office: +44(0)1373 455420
Tickets £13.50 adv / £16 doors
Doors 7:30pm
www.fromefestival.co.uk

Full Press Release with comments from both performers follows:

Frome Festival, the largest community festival in Somerset, has secured a world exclusive for July 2007, its seventh year. Headlining the music programme at the 10-day festival of arts, performance and culture is Vieux Farka Touré, son of two-time Grammy-winning Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré.

On Sunday 8 July Vieux plays his first ever headline gig in the UK, his first UK gig with his full band, and, in an exclusive collaboration for the Frome Festival, plays alongside legendary saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis.

For Vieux, this first UK gig with his full band will be very special. “Headlining in England is a major accomplishment. My father was first embraced internationally there, and throughout his career he was loved there. So, to be able to take the stage and feel the pride of continuing what he has done will be unforgettable.”

Vieux’s self-titled debut album was recently released to worldwide critical acclaim. As Dennis Rozanski from BluesRag said, “Mali has a new guitar god, and his name is Vieux Farka Toure.” Vieux displays extraordinary expressiveness and virtuosity, with blues-inflected lead and rhythm guitar subtly bridging the gap between old and new, adding hints of reggae, funk and rock, with an underlying feel of Malian desert and delta blues.

As Vieux says, “It is terrific that I am going to get to bring my whole band to Frome, because we have a unique sound. We have players from Africa and America sharing their musical language, which really pushes my music into new, exciting worlds. We are a high-energy group, so I hope you are ready to dance!”

The Frome Festival gig, where he plays for the first time alongside world-renowned musician Pee Wee Ellis, who worked with Vieux’s father Ali Farka Touré and with Vieux’s mentor Toumani Diabaté, will highlight this exciting blend of influences.

For Vieux and his band, the opportunity to work alongside Pee Wee was too good to miss. As Eric Herman, band member and producer of Vieux’s label Modiba Productions, explains: “I grew up on Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, James Brown, and the entire funk family. It was my love of that music that led me to dig deeper into its history, eventually discovering African music…. So to me the experience of playing with Pee Wee Ellis will truly be a celebration of those two musical passions uniting.”

Pee Wee Ellis says the concert will be an occasion to both celebrate and commemorate. “Talk about your full circle! Sadly, in the past year we lost not only the great African bluesman Ali Farke Touré but also the man with whom I created funk, the Godfather of Soul, Mr James Brown. I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to work with them both. Now I’m excited to be part of the continuing heritage of both dynasties, by the opportunity to work with Ali’s son – and in my adopted UK hometown of Frome! The world gets smaller but the beat goes on.”

For Vieux, this gig will be an exceptional event: “Pee Wee Ellis is a master. Period. He played with my father and the two had an important bond. It is an enormous honour to share the stage with him. There is much he can teach me and although no one can know what to expect from our collaboration, it is sure to be magic.”
Vieux Farka Touré and Pee Wee Ellis will appear at the Cheese & Grain in Frome on Sunday 8 July. Doors open at 7.30pm.

Tickets, costing £13.50 (advance), can be booked through the Festival box office on 01373 455420. African food will be available to purchase from the African Safari Kitchen, with profits from food going to the Mama Africa orphanage in Kenya. This event, which is subject to permits and visas, is sponsored by BiscuitBox Ltd, Café La Strada, Raves from the Grave, Paslode® Spit, Red Star Frome.

For more details on this or other Frome Festival events, see
www.fromefestival.co.uk.

For info on Vieux see:
www.myspace.com/vieuxfarkatoure
www.vieuxfarkatoure.com/
www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvZHlgoYmJM
www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxyUGp9rELs

For info on Pee Wee Ellis see:
www.peewee-ellis.com