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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 09:35 GMT
'African bluesman' buried in Mali
Coffin in Bamako
Musicians and ministers have paid tribute to Toure
Malian musical legend Ali Farka Toure has been buried in his home town of Niafunke, where he was mayor.

Friends and family gathered to pay tribute to the 67-year-old, who died on Tuesday from cancer.

He was one of Africa's most famous musicians, combining traditional Malian stringed instruments with American blues to create "Mali blues".

He won his second Grammy award just weeks before his death for the album In the Heart of the Moon.

His body was transported overland 850km from the capital to his desert home town after a sandstorm stopped flights from Bamako.

'Centre of the world'

On Wednesday, politicians and musicians had paid their respects in Bamako to the musician who won two Grammy awards for his work.

Ali Farka Toure
He loved Niafunke, the land and its people. This was reflected in his music, which will hopefully live on
Njucks, The Gambia

"Mali has lost another monument, a great man," Culture Minister Cheikh Oumar Cissoko said.

He also remarked at Toure's good spirits, even while he was on his death bed with bone cancer.

In 2004, he was elected mayor of Niafunke and helped build roads and develop farms in the desert region.

Although he worked with several US blues guitarists, the "Bluesman of Africa" always insisted that the music had its roots in the traditional sounds of northern Mali, rather than the southern United States.

His 1994 Talking Timbuktu album produced with US blues guitarist Ry Cooder was widely acclaimed and led to his first Grammy.

His second was also for a collaboration - this time with another famous Malian musician, Toumani Diabate, who plays the Kora - a West African stringed instrument.

Malian journalist Sadio Kante says Toure was better known abroad than in his home country.

His record label, World Circuit, said he had just finished work on a new solo album.

He was born in Timbuktu in 1939 but the exact date of his birth is not known.

"For some people, Timbuktu is a place at the end of nowhere," he was once quoted as saying.

"But that's not true, I'm from Timbuktu, and I can tell you that it's right in the centre of the world."

He leaves a widow and 11 children.

Hear music performed by Ali Farka Toure

Obituary: Ali Farka Toure
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07 Mar 06 |  Africa
In pictures: Festival in the Desert 2004
30 Jan 04 |  Photo Gallery
Country profile: Mali
10 Feb 06 |  Country profiles


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