Standing in for a much more famous compatriot at a damp mid-afternoon set isn't the most auspicious way to make your debut. So it was a tough call when Daby Touré was drafted in as a last minute replacement for singer Dimi mint Abba, at the 2004 WOMAD festival in Reading. Yet this sweet-voiced singer/songwriter steeped in jazz and western pop, and with an occasional penchant for falsetto managed to completely win over a crowd who'd come along expecting the hardcore desert blues of Mauritanian iggawen (griots). In fact, earlier that year, Daby Touré and his two accompanists had done something pretty similar night after night to audiences of up to 10,000, while supporting Peter Gabriel on a European tour.
The son of musician Hamidou Touré, Daby had a nomadic childhood, being shuttled between family members in Senegal and Mauritania, in particular soaking up the musical ambience of the Soninke people while living in the village of Djéole, on the banks of the Senegal River. Though his father initially discouraged him from becoming a musician, they both ended up heading for France in 1989, when tension between the Moorish and Afro-Mauritanian communities made life too dangerous in Mauritania. Hamidou accepted an offer to join his younger brothers in the well-known group Touré Kunda, and at the impressionable age of eighteen, Daby became naturally immersed in the Parisian music scene.
After cutting his teeth with various rock and cover bands, he had some success with a jazz-fusion outfit called Touré Touré, which he formed with his cousin Omar. They made one album, after which Daby struck out in a different direction, following his instincts to be faithful to his roots, but open to other influences. The eventual results of that period can be heard on his debut solo album Diam (2004), and on a version of his song 'Miwawa', which he sings as a duet with Algerian chanteuse Souad Massi on her CD Honeysuckle (2005). He¹s been likened to 'an African Nick Drake or Cat Stevens', and sums up his freewheeling approach to creativity thus:
'The music I play is based on exploration, on original compositions Š I get up in the morning, I pick up my guitar and I start working. I don't know where I'm going to go.'
BBC Music: Diam review
BBC WOMAD 2004 profile
Mo KANE, St-Louis, Missouri USA
Daby, every time I listen to your music, I feel how lucky you were to have been part of that last straw of real african life during your childhood. My memories and imagination are blown away by these rhythms, this instruments mastery along with the extolling of those african virtues of friendship, loyalty and acknowledgement of gratitude whenever we witness something worthy of remembrance. I am myself Pulaar, toucouleur, Soninké, Moor and of course Wolof, which maybe explains why I am so attuned to your powerful tunes. God bless you my african brother.
Yusuf Jirdeh/ Minnesota USA
This is a great star this will make his name on the WORLD CHARTS.
Your music and your spirit are truely beautiful.... you have a gift which you use so well. I am so glad to know someone as talented and kind as you are. I hope you get this award!
Breath taking, a new breeze blowing
saajo bah leiden the netherlands
he's a good artist, i like his album, djam (peace in pulaar /fulfulde), the song mi waawaa(i can't)is one of my best songs right now. keep it up daby.