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Idan Raichel is one of Israel's top selling pop musicians. Vieux Farka Toure is a virtuoso guitarist from Mali. They met by chance in a German airport. And when Toure played Tel Aviv, Raichel sat in. Raichel enjoyed himself so much that he invited Toure to a studio the next day to jam. The resulting CD is called "The Tel Aviv Session." Banning Eyre has a review.

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BANNING EYRE, BYLINE: Sometimes, the best collaborations are accidental. If Idan Raichel and Vieux Farka Toure had planned a collaborative CD, it's hard to imagine they could ever have topped the casual charm of this impromptu encounter.

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EYRE: For this session, Raichel leaves aside his banks of keyboards and his large backing band and mostly just plays piano, sometimes plucking at strings to create percussive muted vamps and riffs.

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EYRE: And Toure, a rocking electric guitarist, sticks to acoustic here and shines.

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EYRE: There's a spare rhythm section and some guest appearances, but the soul of this session is two nimble musicians unfettered and comfortably at play.

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EYRE: Toure tends to set the stage here, mostly with music reminiscent of Malian folklore. Raichel plays the foil, sometimes smoothing out Toure's rugged grooves and sometimes echoing the guitarist's filigree phrasing.

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EYRE: The Toure-Raichel Collective is now becoming a touring ensemble aiming to preserve and even enhance the spontaneous magic of their initial encounter. The fact that the group features two Jewish Israelis and two Muslim Africans is interesting, but not really the point. These players delve into the swirling waters of our globalized music culture and pull out bright fish, almost perfect, as if designed instead of conjured in the heat of improvisation.

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CORNISH: Banning Eyre is senior editor at AfroPop.org. He reviewed "The Tel Aviv Session" by the Toure-Raichel Collective.

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