In mid-2012, following months of armed conflict, a coup d'etat and in-fighting, jihadis took control of a large swathe of West African country Mali and imposed Sharia law on citizens.

The strict social code that followed meant music in all its forms - in one of the most prolific music producing nations on that continent - became outlawed; singing, TV shows, public concerts and even mobile phone ringtones were forbidden. Malian music and musicians in the rebel-held northern territories went underground or moved south, until the intervention of French-led UN forces in early 2013 brought an uneasy ceasefire to the region.

Whilst such chaos raged thousands of miles away, Western audiences consumed releases and live shows from Malian recording and touring artists such as Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Fatoumata Diawara, Rokia Traoré and Toumani Diabaté.

It is from this tumultuous nation that Gao-born and Bamako-based guitarist and vocalist Sidi Touré also hails.

A figure in Malian music since the late 1960s, Touré's melodic style of songhaï blues found a home with adventurous Chicago/London record label Thrill Jockey, and ultimately a new set of appreciative music fans - who were rewarded in 2011 with critically lauded second solo album Sahel Folk.

As with previous work, new release Alafia features the strong virtuosic properties and polished sound of influences such as that of Ali Farka Touré - Africa’s legendary desert bluesman and proponent of Malian folk music. The duo share a name by chance; the similarity between styles is, however, completely intentional. Stringed instruments, particularly guitars, n'gonis and koras, are intrinsic to Malian music - the late Touré was no mean player, and Sidi Touré is certainly a noble scion as each of the 11 new tracks on offer confirm.

Those decades of performance have resulted in a fantastically diverse sound for Touré: from the swaying, dextrous guitarwork on opening uptempo track 'Ay Hôra', to Davey Graham-esque fingerpicking on 'L'eau' and hypnotic rhythms of 'Waayey', versatility and invention drive this record, supported beautifully by band members on backing vocals and instruments including the calabash, flute, kolo bass and n'goni.

Subject matter is, unsurprisingly, centred around the instability and potential of Touré's home country, with tracks like 'La Medicaments de la Rue (Street Medicines)', 'Mali' and 'Ir Wanga Rey (The Army)' offset by messages of peace 'La Paix' (the Arabic word Alafia also translates to the same) and of hope in 'Annour el Sahel'.

The presence of Sidi Touré pupil Baba Salah on a number of tracks lends a sweet sense of continuity and lineage; the seamless break from acoustic to his all-out swirling electric guitar solo on 'Aï Takamba' highlights the incredible connection between African and American blues music in spectacular fashion.

Indeed a handful of high-profile supporters and countless ethnomusicologists have celebrated the music of Mali over the years including the ubiquitous Damon Albarn, whose visit as an Oxfam ambassador to the country in 2002 spawned a well-received collaborative album. A few years later, Robert Plant swapped the relative calm of the Black Country for the desert sands west of Mali's capital to jam with band Tinariwen and other Tuareg (principal inhabitants of North Africa’s Saharan regions) artists.

Sidi Touré hasn't yet had the benefit of attention from a major Western musician, and as an accomplished performer capable of producing such incredibly layered songs over which to express the past tragedies and future good fortunes of Mali, he may never need it. In the words of the artist himself, "music is something that brings people together" - here's hoping Alafiah does just that.