Israeli singing sensation Idan Raichel talks about the world that surrounds his music
In a country like Israel, which usually makes news due to conflict, Idan Raichel’s music comes as a pleasant surprise. The Israeli singer-songwriter and musician who is on a concert tour in India will be performing in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata. A blend of electronics, traditional Hebrew texts, West Asian and Ethiopian music, the Idan Raichel Project has garnered worldwide appreciation for its distinctive style and composition.
Although the Idan Raichel Project started ten years ago, Idan’s tryst with music goes back to the time when he was nine. He further honed his skills in high school where he learned jazz after which he was conscripted into the Israeli army for three years. “It’s a mandatory service for men and women aged 18 to 21 to serve their country, though I would’ve done it even if it was not mandatory,” he adds. But music continued to follow him there as well. “You can perform no matter where you are. I loved to perform for the army men and while doing so I felt that soldiers are the most honest audience after children,” says Idan.
After serving in the army he joined a boarding school where he worked as a counsellor for the immigrants and troubled. “The Israeli society is all about immigrants, hence it’s a melting pot of different cultures. There were kids from East Africa, Ethiopia and Moscow, however, the sad part was that teenagers there are facing an identity crisis.” During his stint as a counsellor, he used his music as therapy which, he feels, greatly influenced the kids. Having recorded songs with 95 singers and musicians for his Idan Raichel Project, he said that his songs are “influenced by each and every person who worked on that project.” Talking about Indian music, he says, “Indian music was always classical, pop and Bollywood, but it was Late Pandit Ravi Shankar along with A.R. Rahman with his Slumdog Millionaire who brought Indian music to the fore.”
When asked what his type of music would be, he chuckled and said that world music is his favourite. “There is something about each and every place. Be it late Pandit Ravi Shankar for India or late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for Pakistan or John Coltrane for America, they all contributed their part to the world music, which is what I like the most,” he said.