From virtually the very first notes that sound on "Ruby‚" Ali and Toumani is mesmerizing stuff‚ so much so it is virtually impossible not to become engrossed in the deep rich tranquility that arises from this collaboration of two master world musicians.

The follow-up to the Grammy-award-winning In the Heart of the Moon‚ this is the second collaboration between Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté and the last recording project upon which the former collaborated prior to his death in 2006. Recorded in just three sessions in London under the auspices of Nick Gold (producer and head of the World Circuit label)‚ this project combines original material ("Sabu Yerkoy") as well as traditional African songs ("Doudou"); within the musical improvisations‚ the musicians transcend genre and enter the realm of rhapsody.

The acoustic purity of Touré's guitar and Diabaté's kora even outweighs the exotic sounds of the instruments. It's uncanny to hear the telepathic anticipation and intuitive responses the pair share to maintain the logic of the tune and even more so to sense the discipline required to hold the momentum of the performance. Yet while the album‚ as befits its title‚ centers on Ali and Toumani‚ the presence of Orlando Lopez‚ Vieux Farka‚ Souleye Kane‚ Ali Magasa and Tim Keiper channel the principals' deep camaraderie even as the bass‚ percussion and vocals enlarge the scope of the arrangements.

A similarity of melodic motifs surfaces by the time "Fantasia‚" a spontaneous studio composition of Touré's‚ appears toward the end of this CD‚ but that only adds to its haunting quality.