Live Concert Photography: Daby Toure at Subrosa 12/29/16
Now if you had stopped by this site earlier this week, you’d be familiar with Daby Touré, a Mauritanian-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter, who an trace the origins of his music career to a lifelong love and obsession with music that began with him listening to The Police, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson over the radio, which inspired him to learn guitar. As a teenager, Touré relocated to Paris, where his lifelong passion for music gradually drew him away from studying business; in fact, the Mauritanian-born singer/songwriter quickly immersed himself in his new hometown’s jazz scene. Interestingly, after several years of experimenting with his sound and songwriting approach, Touré met electronic music artist and producer Cyrille Dufay in 2003 — and the duo collaborated on the Mauritanian-born, Paris-based singer/songwriter’s critically applauded breakthrough album Diam, that was released by Peter Gabriel‘s Real World Records. And as a result, Touré wound up opening for Gabriel during his 2004 Growing Up World Tour, which expanded his profile internationally — especially as the album was added to French and British radio playlists.
2006 marked the release of Touré’s sophomore effort, an effort which had him collaborating with sound engineer Ben Finlay, who has worked with Peter Gabriel, Sting, Simply Red, Jeff Beck and Robert Plant; and mixer and engineer Tom Oliver, who has worked with Sinead O’Connor, U2, Seun Kuti, Tony Allen, Susheela Raman and Charlie Winston. He quickly followed that up with his third album Stereo Spirt, an effort that received praise internationally for material that found him gently expanding upon his sound as it drew upon both pop and African folk — and possessed incredibly catchy hooks and singalong-worthy lyrics.
Further developing a reputation for an increasingly genre-defying sound, the Mauritanian-born singer/songwriter collaborated with bluesman Skip McDonald on the Call My Name EP, an effort that Sing Out! described as being “neither African nor blues, but instead pulls from both and also from rock, a touch of pop and even dub for a unique, appealing and — its as to be said — quite commercial sound. The two voices and styles complement each other perfectly, and the songs they’ve created – for they seem more like creations than compositions – summon up echoes of their histories, but end up in a hybrid that’s essentially completely new.” With the success of the Call My Name EP, Touré began a series of collaborations with a number of internationally recognized artists, including Francis Cabrel and Maxime Le Forestier on 2012’s French language effort Lang(u)age — and he’s performed alongside Bob Geldof, Rihanna and Enzo Avitabile, among others.
As Touré explained in press notes “I was born in Africa and all the traditional music I picked up when I was young is still in me and that doesn’t change. But in my music I am still searching, and mixing, and trying things and that’s what I am doing now. I have travelled far from the ‘traditional’ or ‘folkloric’ music of my country.” In fact, over the past few years, the Mauritanian-born, French-based singer/songwriter has increasingly has merged the linguistic sounds of the six languages he speaks while moving towards a more globalized and universal sound — all while maintaining the accessibility that won him international attention.
His most recent effort was 2015’s Amonafi, which was released through renowned Vermont-based world music label Cumbancha Records, and interestingly enough Touré was in New York’s Subrosa last night to support his latest effort, playing a set of breezy and crowd-pleasing music that frequently held a much deeper sociopolitical message while simultaneously drawing from everyday life — and with an easygoing and effortless charm and a warm, cozy vocal styling. Check out some photos from last night’s early set.