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Idan Raichel

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Origin  Kfar Saba, Israel
Labels  Helicon Records
Partner  Damaris Deubel
Idan Raichel Idan Raichel From the Personal to the Universal Jewish Journal
Born  12 September 1977 (age 39) (1977-09-12)
Genres  Pop, folk, world music,
Occupation(s)  Keyboardist, producer and composer
Instruments  Vocal, piano, accordion

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Idan Raichel (Hebrew: עידן רייכל‎‎, [ʔiˈdan ˈʁaiχel]; b. 12 September 1977) is an Israeli singer-songwriter and a musician, known for his Idan Raichel Project (Hebrew: הפרויקט של עידן רייכל), distinctive for its fusion of electronics, traditional Hebrew texts, Arab and Ethiopian music. Prior to the Project, Raichel was a keyboardist, collaborating with artists such as Ivri Lider.


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Idan Raichel was born in Kfar Saba, Israel. He began to play the accordion at the age of nine. He was attracted to gypsy music and tango, and studied jazz piano in high school.

Idan Raichel Idan Raichel PressResources Cumbancha

Raichel served in the Israel Defense Forces army band at the age of 18, performing covers of Israeli and Western pop hits at military bases around the country. As the musical director of the group, he learned to do arrangements and produce live shows.

Idan Raichel Idan Raichel PressResources Cumbancha

Following his military service, Raichel worked as a counselor at a boarding school for immigrants. There he met young Ethiopian Jews who introduced him to Ethiopian folk and pop music. These included Mahmoud Ahmed, Aster Aweke and Gigi, who took him to Ethiopian bars and clubs in Tel Aviv.

Music career

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After working as a backup musician and recording with some of Israel's most popular singers, Raichel struck out on his own. He began working on a demo recording in Kfar Saba and invited other singers and musicians to collaborate with him to create a new synthesis of sounds and styles. He released two albums locally before signing an international deal.

The Idan Raichel Project & Mi'Ma'amakim (Out of the Depths)

The diversity of the Jewish diaspora interested Raichel and influenced his musical career. He has worked with Ethiopian Jews, Arabs, traditional Yemenite vocalists, a toaster and percussionist from Suriname and a South African singer, among others. The global fusion sound of "Bo'ee" ("Come With Me") propelled his group to the top of the charts. The Idan Raichel Project self-titled first album focusses on these cross-cultural collaborations. It was released locally in 2002 and followed by a second album Out of the Depths in 2005.

This collaboration became a platform for the emergence of ethnic singers such as Cabra Casey, an Ethiopian Jew born in a refugee camp in Sudan and Ravid Kahalani, from the band Yemen Blues who explores his Yemenite roots. The Yemenite-Israeli singer Shoshana Damari performed with the group just before she died in 2006 at the age of 86. The Idan Raichel Project has released 4 albums as well as a collection of live recordings in Israel on the Helicon Label. Cumbancha, a US based record label, released the group's first album worldwide in 2006. The album also received a nomination as one of the world music albums of the year by the BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music.

Within My Walls

The Idan Raichel Project released its second international release Within My Walls in 2009. Raichel recorded much of this album while he was on tour in impromptu settings. During his travels, he met with musicians from around the world and exchanged musical ideas with them along the way. He recorded and co-wrote songs with Colombian singer Marta Gómez, Cape Verdean Mayra Andrade and Rwandan/Ugandan Somi. The group has performed at a number of international festivals and traveled to and performed across Europe, South and Central America, Asia and Africa.

Raichel worked with Grammy winner India.Arie on a project called "Open Door." They began working together in 2008 when India was visiting Israel. Together they performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC in front of President Barack Obama on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day after Obama's election. They also played "Gift of Acceptance" at the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize gala event. In August 2011, the duet performed at the dedication ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. in their US tour. Raichel and India.Arie produced Arie's first single "6th Avenue" from her 2013 album Songversation. Shimon Peres, the President of Israel, asked Idan to compose music for a poem Peres wrote about Israel's Ethiopian community. The song, "The Eyes of Beta Israel," was performed in front of 3,000 people in Jerusalem in January.

Quarter to Six

The Idan Raichel Project's album, Quarter to Six, was released in 2013. There are guest appearances by Portuguese fado star Ana Moura, Palestinian-Israeli singer Mira Awad, German counter-tenor Andreas Scholl, Colombia's Marta Gómez, Vieux Farka Touré and some of Israel's up-and-coming artists. Quarter to Six reached triple-platinum sales status in Israel, selling over 116,000 copies.

The Project played at a private concert for President Barack Obama during his visit to Israel in March. Raichel was invited by pop star Alicia Keys to perform a duet with her on stage at the Nokia Stadium in Tel Aviv. One month later, Raichel shared the stage with Patrick Bruel. At the end of the Jewish year in September, Pnai Plus, an Israeli entertainment magazine, voted Idan Raichel "Man of the Year". The song "Ba'Layla (At Night)" was voted "Song of the Year". Raichel was also named "Musician of the Year" in 2013 and 2014 by Galgalatz radio station. The Idan Raichel Project placed no.1 in Media Forest's chart of "The Most Broadcast Group" in Israel for 2013 and 2014, as well as "Group of the Year" in various media charts for 2014.

In September 2014, Alicia Keys invited Raichel and Palestinian singer and qanun player Ali Amr to join her on stage at the Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park to perform her song "We Are Here". On 3 July 2014, Raichel and 18 members of his project performed at Yarkon Park, Tel-Aviv in front of 20,000 people

On 12 January 2015 Raichel joined Patrick Bruel and Moroccan singer Youness El Guezouli on stage at L'Ópera in Paris to sing "Pourquoi ne pas y croire …" (Why Not Believe) in French, Arabic and Hebrew In 2015, Raichel has continued to perform and collaborate with among others Ornella Vanoni, Cuban singer Danay Suarez and Portuguese singer Antonio Zambujo. Raichel continues to tour, including a December 2015 tour with The Idan Raichel Project in Japan, a series of concerts in Germany with Andreas Scholl and an appearance at the Jazz a la Villette festival in Paris with The Touré-Raichel Collective in September 2015

The Touré-Raichel Collective

Since their chance meeting at an airport in 2008, Raichel and Vieux Farka Touré, son of Ali Farka Toure, have formed The Touré-Raichel Collective, a collaboration of Malian and Israeli music. He was invited to Israel to perform at the Tel Aviv Opera House with Raichel in 2010, which led to the formation of The Toure-Raichel Collective. This album The Tel Aviv Session reached the number one spot on the iTunes World Music sales charts and made number 2 on the Billboard World Music Chart. In September 2014, The Touré-Raichel Collective released its second album, The Paris Session with Daby Touré on bass, Israeli trumpeter Niv Toar, Malian singer Seckouba Diabate and others.

In November 2014, Raichel toured the United States and Canada alongside Vieux Farka Touré with the Touré-Raichel Collective. The performance at Symphony Space in New York City, presented by World Music Institute, was previewed in a feature article in The New York Times where the music critic Larry Rohter described the Touré-Raichel Collective as "one of the most fruitful and intriguing collaborations in the grab-bag genre known as world music." While in New York, The Touré-Rachel Collective also appeared on WYNC radio's Soundcheck.

At the Edge of the Beginning

On 22 January 2016, Raichel's first solo album, Ha'Yad Ha'Chama, entitled "At the Edge of the Beginning" internationally was released worldwide. Following the release of his solo album, Raichel started touring his new solo piano concerts titled "Idan Raichel - Piano - Songs". He continues to tour with the Idan Raichel Project and with the "Idan Raichel- Piano Concert with Friends" throughout Europe and the US. In February 2016, Raichel performed at the Konzerthaus in Vienna. The Idan Raichel Project continues with musical collaboration that includes different cultures, ethnicities, religions and beliefs.

Musical style

Raichel's style has Middle Eastern influences, but also draws on Latin American and African music. While the majority of his songs are in Hebrew, a few are entirely in Amharic, while others include small passages in Amharic, by male and female voices, setting traditional-sounding tunes to modern music. Love-songs predominate in his Hebrew lyrics, including Hinech Yafah (הינך יפה / "Thou art Fair") based on the Song of Songs, while the opening track also reaches into the depths of Jewish liturgy, with B'rachot L'shanah Chadashah (ברכות לשנה חדשה / "Blessings for a new year") sampling voices reciting traditional Jewish blessings.

Awards and recognition

On 16 January 2014 ACUM announced Idan Raichel won the ACUM Award as Composer of the Year 2013 for Quarter to Six. On 1 November 2014, Raichel received the MTV role model award introduced by Alicia Keys. On 8 May 2016, Raichel received the 2016 "Unsung Hero Award" from the Drum Major Institute. The award was granted to Idan by Martin Luther Kind the third; the first time the organization granted the award to a non-U.S. citizen. On 6 June 2016 Raichel was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Israel Museum: "Idan's creative commitment to cross-cultural connections very much reflects the Museum’s own commitment to the singular power that is achieved by recognizing the ways that all things connect across time and geography, merging local and universal cultural strains to achieve global expression". On 7 July 2016, Raichel received a special citation from B'nai B'rith International."The international musical cooperations that Raichel has created throughout his career have turned him into a cultural ambassador for millions of fans, representing a world full of hope in which musical collaborations remove boundaries between people coming from different backgrounds and cultures".

Views and opinions

Raichel expressed his view that real peace can come when people will understand each other culture and learn about it.

Raichel used his Instagram account to defend Doron Zahavi (code name: Captain George), a former interrogator for Unit 504 of the Israeli Military Intelligence who was accused of using torture and sodomy in the process of interrogating Mustafa Dirani. In this context, Raichel writes "I really don't care how 'George' extracted information" adding that "instead of receiving a medal of valor, he must now defend his name. This is a disgrace".

In a recent interview, in Yedioth Ahronoth, Raichel was asked about this and said: "If you have a daughter and someone kidnapped her, you investigate that someone and your child's life is at risk. If she is my daughter, I would do whatever necessary to know where she is and to get the information that would save her life. Regardless if that someone is Muslim, Jewish or Christian. It is an example of unnecessary harsh criticism. The intention of the things was taking out of context".

Raichel expressed his view that Israeli artists have a duty to play an active "role" in public relations for the Jewish state and asserted that Israeli conscientious objectors are at the very bottom of Israeli society.

In December 2015 Raichel took part in "let's speak more music", a UN project called "United Pianos" in which 11 renowned pianists from all across the globe collaborated to seamlessly play Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf'. The goal of the video is "to promote tolerance and unity through music."


BoaiThe Idan Raichel Project · 2002
Chalomot Shel AcherimWithin My Walls · 2008


Idan Raichel Wikipedia