The follow-up to "The Tel Aviv Session," one of the most critically acclaimed albums of recent memory, "The Paris Session" reunites Israeli pianist Idan Raichel and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré in a cross-cultural masterpiece that defies expectations and easy categorization.
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PRAISE FOR THE TEL AVIV SESSION:
#1 on the iTunes World Music Chart
#2 on the Billboard World Music Chart
“The melding of Touré’s rich African grooves and Raichel’s delicate piano is as close to perfection as one could imagine.” - Relix
“A delightful, soulful debut album.” - Songlines
“A cross cultural triumph!” - Time Out Chicago
“Stunningly beautiful.” - Allaboutjazz
“A masterpiece.” - about.com
“Simply divine.” - Giant Step
“Deeply affecting.” - The Wall Street Journal
“Best record you will hear this year.” - Popmatters
“One of the most vital world music collaborations of recent years.” - Record Collector
The formation and success of The Touré-Raichel Collective, the band led by Israeli keyboardist and songwriter Idan Raichel and Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré—icons in their own countries and abroad—is a reminder of the unique power of music to bridge geographic, ethnic, political and religious differences.
Although a collaboration between an Israeli Jew and a Malian Muslim has unavoidable political implications, what inspired Touré and Raichel to work together was not the potential to make a statement; they simply connected as artists and friends seeking to find musical common ground.
The Paris Session is the result of the same freeform approach that was used in the first album, this time around they decided to feature more songs with vocals, a wider range of instrumentation, and appearances by musician friends such as Senegalese artist Daby Touré on bass, Israeli trumpeter Niv Toar, Malian singer Seckouba Diabate and others. Touré and Raichel have honed their interplay over the course of multiple tours together, but the album possesses the same spontaneous, heartfelt magic as its predecessor.
More broadly Raichel says of his collaboration with Touré, “I’m a musician from Israel, and I will always make Israeli music. And Vieux Farka Touré for me represents the spirit of Mali. I think world music artists by definition are people who reflect the soundtrack of the place they come from. I think that this collaboration between Mali and Israel—and remember we don’t even have diplomatic relations between the two countries—creates a new imaginary island located somewhere between Bamako and Tel Aviv.”
Touré says, “Idan comes from Israel, he’s Jewish. I come from Mali, I'm a Muslim. This project shows the point where there are no real differences between us. Working on these recordings we learn a lot about each other. If music is indeed a universal language, you can't just say it, you have to demonstrate it.”
It all works, first and foremost, because Touré, Raichel and their guests manage to make singular music. Reviewing The Tel Aviv Session for NPR’s All Things Considered, Banning Eyre wrote, “If Raichel and Touré had planned a collaboration, it's hard to imagine that they could have topped the casual charm of this impromptu encounter.” Hosting the Collective on WNYC’s Soundcheck, John Schaefer called the debut recording “one of the year’s most surprising and infectious world music releases.” Wall Street Journal rock and pop music critic Jim Fusilli has described the collaboration as “not so much cross-cultural exercise as an exploration of common ground.” Relix called is "as close to perfection as one could imagine," and Songlines raved in its four star review "There's something very pure of spirit about this album. Although the album grew out of jam sessions, the end result is architecturally robust and infused with strong emotive melodies. A delightful, soulful debut album that exudes optimism."
That same optimistic, and adventurous, spirit simmers through The Touré-Raichel Collective's second album. Despite its unassuming spontaneity, the engaging interplay on The Paris Session exemplifies the unifying power of music.
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