The Touré-Raichel Collective at the Weinberg Center This Wednesday

Transcending religious, cultural, and musical boundaries, Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré and Israeli pop star Idan Raichel have reunited to record The Paris Sessions under their Touré-Raichel Collective moniker. The album, a follow-up to their wildly popular The Tel Aviv Sessions, was released on Cumbancha on September 30. DC-area music fans will have a chance to see the duo perform this Wednesday, November 19th, at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, Maryland.

The story of the collective is a simple, yet fascinating, one. Touré and Raichel met by chance in the Berlin airport in 2008, and discussed not only their mutual admiration for the other's work but also a desire to collaborate. Raichel invited Touré to Israel, and an unscripted jam session among friends became the basis for the first album. Touré invited Raichel to Bamako to record the follow-up, but logistical and security concerns shelved that idea. Instead, the pair met in Paris to write and record the new album, with Raichel pulling double duty as producer and engineer. The music serves to bridge gaps in language, geography, and religion - Raichel is Jewish and Touré Muslim.

The album is breathtaking. Raichel's contributions provide Touré with added dimensionality to his guitar, giving him musical landscapes familiar and foreign to explore. Raichel's piano underscores the similarities and back-and-forth influence of classical music and the blues. Perhaps the album's standout track is 'Diaraby', a cover of a song by Vieux's father Ali Farka Touré. The elder Touré served as a musical inspiration to both his son and Raichel, and they honor his memory in a track that is spare yet sumptuous, haunting and beautiful.

Doors for the show this Wednesday open at 7:30, and tickets are $20 and $30. Touré has been a favorite of MMS over the years, and I'm excited to see what surprises this collaboration holds.