Celebrated African Guitarist Vieux Farka Toure Stops at Cyprian's during World Tour

Vieux Farka Toure with students in Masterclass at Cyprian's

15 students gather with Vieux Farka Tour. Event producer, Lucia Comnes, standing.
Photos: Michael Helquist

Vieux Farka Toure with St. Cyprian's members Michael Helquist and Robyn Amos

Monday night Vieux Farka Toure, the sensational guitarist from Mali, filled the Cyprian's stage with students eager to learn from the man who thrilled more than a billion people with his performance at the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa. Vieux ensured that each student picked up the tune, and he gave the students close attention and encouragement no matter their skill level.

Vieux Farka Toure filled the Independent the previous night as part of his current U.S. tour before additional stops in California. His tour then returns to Europe with gigs in France and Switzerland. The acclaimed artist is about to release -- on May 24th -- his sixth studio album The Secret (Six Degrees Records). The album features Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, John Scofield, Ivan Neville and Vieux's final collaboration with his legendary father, Ali Farka Toure.

At the conclusion of the class Toure commented on how good it was to be with the group in Cyprian's intimate space, sitting close and being able to hear and watch each other practice the tune he suggested. One of the other guitarists remarked on St. Cyprian's vaulted wood-beam ceiling, "It's a grand lofty feeling here but then still has this special intimacy and closeness."

Special thanks to Lucia Comnes, Bay Area music promoter, violinist and singer, for bringing the guitar masterclass to Cyprian's. Lucia performed at Cyprian's last month, bringing many in the audience to their feet and moving everyone with her powerful singing and playing.

Learn more about the Vieux Farka Toure at his website.