It’s dance party time with the Taj Mahal Trio |

It’s dance party time with the Taj Mahal Trio

“… Taj Mahal was one of the first major artists, if not the very first one, to pursue the possibilities of world music. Even the blues he was playing in the early 70s showed an aptitude for spicing the mix with flavours that always kept him a yard or so distant from being an out-and-out blues performer.”

– Rough Guide to Rock

” …Vieux Farka Toure is forging his own identity, expanding on his father’s drones and gnarled picking patterns with a rocker’s joyful audacity.”

– The New York Times

The Center for the Arts continues to bring headline entertainment to Nevada County with a stellar evening featuring Nevada County favorite Taj Mahal with an opening set by Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Toure and his band.

Mahal made Nevada City an annual stop during much of the 1980s when Paul Emery presented concerts at Cirino’s Restaurant and Big Al’s Nightclub. “We could sell out two shows in advance just by putting up a poster in the window,” Emery says. “Taj always did a great show and people came back year after year.”

“We are thrilled to be bringing Taj back to Nevada County and so excited that we are one of only six venues for this tour of Taj Mahal Trio and Vieux Farka Toure,” says Center Executive Director Julie Baker. “We knew as soon as we heard about this show, it had to come here.

“Nevada County audiences are the best and it is so fitting the last stop on their tour is Grass Valley. This will be a concert not to miss that people will be talking about for years to come.”

Taj Mahal is a hugely influential blues and roots musician with artistic interests that stretch from the U.S., West Africa, Latin America, Europe, Hawaii and the Caribbean.

Vieux Farka Toure is the son of the great Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure. Mixing traditional Malian songs and the sounds of ancient Africa with blues and rock, Toure creates world music for the 21st century.

Taj Mahal, a two-time Grammy winner may best be described as a collaborator. His recording career includes working with The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, Etta James, Toumani Diabate, Los Lobos and many more. Early on in his career Taj also had the opportunity to hear, meet and play with such blues legends as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Sleepy John Estes, Lightin’ Hopkins and Hammy Nixon. In his never-ending exploration he has forged a four-decade career by gathering and distilling countless musical traditions from a range of sources.

Mahal continued his explorations with Caribbean, Hawaiian, Reggae, Indian and African music along with children’s albums and movie soundtracks garnering a string of awards including two Grammies. His 2008 release, Maestro, marked the 40th anniversary of Taj’s rich and varied recording career by mixing original material with chestnuts from vintage sources and newcomers alike. Guests include Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Angelique Kidjo, Los Lobos, Ziggy Marley and others – many of whom have been directly influenced by Taj’s music and guidance.

In the past year, The Center for the Arts presented The Smothers Brothers, Kingston Trio, Kris Kristofferson and Chubby Checker at the historic Veterans Memorial Auditorium to capacity crowds. The Center for the Arts is a nonprofit cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual and performing arts for the enrichment of our community by providing a venue for artists to exhibit and perform.

Since his sold-out concert at The Center for the Arts in 2009 Vieux Farka Toure has had what can only be described as a banner year. Following the release of a new major-label live CD Vieux performed for over a billion people as part of the World Cup opening ceremonies in Johannesburg, South Africa. This current tour opening for Taj Mahal includes six concerts in the western US.

His music is a stirring mix of traditional instruments and modern production. More than a world music artist embracing the sounds of rock, it is the sound of a young man coming into his own. His self-titled debut, released in 2006, seemed to be the passing of a torch, as it included the last recordings by his legendary father Ali Farka Toure, and a healthy dose of traditional Malian songs from his father’s repertoire.

Toure’s new CD “Live” has been called, “A characteristically intense, often exhilarating album by one of the great guitarists of our time” ( His playing is compared to jazz mystic Charlie Parker and rock shredder Steve Vai.

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