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. As a follow up to their acclaimed 2012 debut, The Tel Aviv Session, the group will release a new album, The Paris Session, September 30 on the Cumbancha label. The Touré-Raichel Collective will tour the U.S. this fall; please see below for an itinerary.
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.
They met for the first time by chance, in 2008 at the Berlin airport, where they expressed mutual admiration and a desire to get together and play. Touré’s father, the late great Ali Farka Touré, was one of Raichel's musical heroes and inspirations. Raichel invited Touré to Israel, where they assembled a few musicians and convened an unscripted, improvised jam session. The chemistry between Touré and Raichel was instant and profound. They assumed the name The Touré-Raichel Collective and used the material from that first gathering as the basis for an album, The Tel Aviv Session, which found poignant, musically beautiful common ground between the artists’ cultures.
Due to popular demand, The Touré-Raichel Collective has undertaken multiple international tours and performed on some of the world's most prestigious stages. In June of this year, Touré returned to Israel to join Raichel's band The Idan Raichel Project in a performance at Masada, an archeological site of immense significance in Jewish history.
Since they recorded their first album in Tel Aviv, the plan was to make the follow-up in Bamako. But for reasons of logistics, cost and security the artists met in France instead. For three days Raichel, who produced, and Touré sequestered themselves at Studio Malambo in the outskirts of Paris where they were joined by a number of special guests. While 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.
One highlight of the recording is a rendition of the song “Diaraby,” written by Ali Farka Touré and featured on his landmark collaboration with Ry Cooder, Talking Timbuktu. Raichel says that there was a period of six or seven years during which he had listened to the song nearly every day. Upon sharing a stage with Vieux for the first time, Raichel suggested they play the elder Touré’s song together, and doing so brought tears to Raichel’s eyes. He describes feeling “a big, big circle from Ali Farka Touré in Niafunke to me in Tel Aviv, then going back to Ali’s son.”
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.
The Touré-Raichel Collective U.S. Tour Dates
Check www.cumbancha.com/events for updates
November 7 - Northridge, CA - Valley Performing Arts Center
November 8 - San Francisco, CA - Nourse Theater
November 9 - Grass Valley, CA - The Center for the Arts
November 11 - Phoenix, AZ Musical - Instrument Museum
November 12 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater
November 14 - Ogden, UT - Peery’s Egyptian Theater
November 15 - Seattle, WA - Meany Hall
November 18 - New York, NY - Symphony Space
November 19 - Frederick, MD - Weinberg Center for the Arts
November 20 - Fairfield, CT - Quick Center for the Arts
November 21 - Toronto, ONT - Koerner Hall
November 22 - Albany, NY - Swyer Theatre at The Egg
November 23 - Bethlehem, PA - Zoellner Arts Center...read more
Remixed by KCRW DJ Jeremy Sole, "African Thriller" is the first single from the African star's new album Branches of the Same Tree, which will be released in early 2015 on Cumbancha.
"African Thriller", the first single from African music star Rocky Dawuni's forthcoming album Branches of the Same Tree, has been launched today worldwide. The single announces the Ghanaian star's new signing to Cumbancha, which will be releasing Rocky Dawuni's new album in early 2015. Dawuni will be appearing LIVE on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic today at 11am PST to publicly launch the single. Live streaming is available worldwide at kcrw.com. A new music video for the track will be premiered later this summer.
La Rumba SoYo, the new album from Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca, is a multinational undertaking that was recorded on three continents and in four countries (US, Canada, France and Angola). It took Lemvo three years to complete and sees him diving even deeper into his Angolan roots for inspiration. Cumbancha will release the album in North America on June 24, 2014 and in Europe and the rest of the world this fall.
With his band Makina Loca, the Los Angeles-based singer produces an appealing blend of African and Cuban music that has earned him a worldwide following. Lemvo's early recordings drew mainly from Congolese rumba and soukous mixed with Cubanson and salsa. His 1998 hit "Mambo Yo Yo," which appeared on the first of two albums he released on Putumayo, can be heard to this day pouring out of taxicabs and on salsa club dance floors in Cartagena, New York, Tokyo, Paris and beyond.
"Ayó starts with a lilting farewell to Palacio, and eases into rousing, soulful songs driven by guitars and the distinctive rhythms of the Garifuna hand-drums, with strong vocals and a dash of dub and funk." * * * * " - The Guardian
March 13, 2014 - Cumbancha is pleased to announce that it will be releasing the next album from Afro-Latin superstar Ricardo Lemvo. The new album is entitled La Rumba SoYo and features Lemvo and his band Makina Loca's trademark blend of African and Latin grooves that has earned him a wide global following since he first started filling dance floors in the 1990s. La Rumba SoYo will be released in the United States and Canada on June 10, 2014 and will roll out to other territories around the world shortly thereafter.
Africa’s most inspirational band celebrates ten years since its first recording with its finest album to date. Libation’s “around-the-campfire” intimacy, honest soulfulness, and technical prowess reveal how far Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have come while remaining true to their roots. Produced by Chris Velan and mixed by Iestyn Polson, known for his work with David Gray, Patti Smith, and David Bowie, Libation embodies the contagious joy, optimism in the face of struggle and love for their fellow man that has earned Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars a devoted following across the globe.
"It's as easy to fall in love with these guys as it was with the Buena Vista Social Club.” Newsweek
“Their music emanates a life-affirming positivity.” BBC
“They still have something to teach the world.” Paste
"African Thriller" embodies Rocky Dawuni's unique "Afro-Roots" sound, a funky blend of soul, pop, Afrobeat and reggae grooves that have made him a household name in his native Ghana and earned him a wide following across the globe. Jeremy Sole, a DJ, producer and host on the taste-defining Los Angeles radio station KCRW, remixed the single version of "African Thriller". Sole has previously remixed tracks for Femi Kuti, David Bowie, Thievery Corporation, and Quantic, among others.
La Rumba Soy Yo is a multinational undertaking that was recorded in three continents and four countries (US, Canada, France, Angola). It took Ricardo Lemvo three years to complete and sees him looking back to his Angolan roots for inspiration. Three of the songs were written in collaboration with Angolan artists (Calo Pascoal, Kyaku Kyadaff, Adao Filipe) and the styles featured include Cuban and African rumba and soukous, Angolan kizomba and semba and Cuban son and salsa. The title track offers an upbeat and irresistible tropical hook that will certainly be one of the party anthems of this summer and many years to come.
Africa’s most inspirational band celebrates ten years together with its finest album to date. Libation’s “around-the-campfire” intimacy, honest soulfulness, and technical prowess reveal how far the group has come while remaining true to its roots. Produced by Chris Velan and mixed by Iestyn Polson, known for his work with David Gray, Patti Smith, and David Bowie, Libation embodies the contagious joy, optimism in the face of struggle and love for their fellow man that has earned the All Stars a devoted following across the globe.