Toure was born October 31, 1939 in Timbuktu, Mali. Toure was the first African bluesman to achieve widespread popularity in Africa and was often called “the African John Lee Hooker.” He appeared in the 2003 documentary “Feel Like Going Home,” which traced the roots of the blues back to its genesis in West Africa. Toure won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album in 1994 for “Talking Timbuktu” and in 2005 for “In the Heart of the Moon.”
His last album, “Savane,” was released posthumously and was chosen Album of the Year in 2006 by a panel of experts from the World Music Chart Europe. In 2004, Toure became mayor of the 53 villages of the Niafunke region of Mali and used his own money grading the roads, putting in sewer canals, and providing the fuel for the generator that provided electricity.
In Mali, he was considered a national hero and when he died the government radio stations suspended regular programming to play his music.