The Idan Raichel Project
|Born||September 12, 1977|
|Origin||Kfar Saba, Israel|
|Genres||Pop, Folk, World music,|
|Occupations||Keyboardist, producer and composer|
|Instruments||Vocal, piano, accordion|
Idan Raichel (Hebrew: עידן רייכל, IPA: [ʔiˈdan ˈʁaiχel]; b. September 12, 1977) is an Israeli singer-songwriter and a musician, known for his Idan Raichel Project (Hebrew: הפרוייקט 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.
Idan Raichel was born in Kfar Saba, Israel. Raichel began to play the accordion at the age of nine. He was attracted to long hair, gypsy music and tango, and studied jazz piano in high school, which improved his improvisational skills and ability to collaborate with other musicians.
Raichel served in the Israel Defense Forces army band, touring military bases performing covers of Israeli and Western pop hits. As the musical director of the group, he became adept at arrangements and producing live shows.
Following his military service, Raichel became a counselor at a boarding school for immigrants. The school was attended by many young Ethiopian Jews, who introduced him to Ethiopian folk and pop music. Whilst many of people in the school rejected their own cultural traditions in an effort to assimilate into mainstream Israeli society, a small core of teenagers remained fans of Ethiopian music, passing around cassettes of songs by Mahmoud Ahmed, Aster Aweke and Gigi. After hearing them, Raichel began to frequent Ethiopian bars and clubs in Tel Aviv. In April 2007, Raichel traveled with Save a Child's Heart to Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Musical career 
After working as a backup musician and recording session player for some of Israel’s leading singers, he began working on a demo recording in a small studio he set up in the basement of his parents' home in Kfar Saba. He invited other singers and musicians to participate to create an amalgam of different styles.
As part of the Idan Raichel project, he brought together 70 musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds, including Ethiopian Jews, Arabs, traditional Yemenite vocalists, a toaster and percussionist from Suriname and a South African singer, among others. Gadi Gidor of Helicon Records recognized the potential of Raichel’s work and signed him up for an album that became an immediate hit.
Helicon released Raichel's first, eponymous album in 2002. Raichel composed and arranged many of the tracks, performs vocals and plays the keyboard while collaborating with other vocalists and musicians. Hit singles include Boi (בואי / "Come"), Im Telech (אם תלך / "If you go") and M'dab'rim B'sheket (מדברים בשקט / "Speaking Quietly").
As demand for live shows increased, Raichel was booked to perform at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center. Given the number of musicians who participated in the recordings, it would have been impossible to have them all appear on stage, so Raichel selected seven members.
Raichel released his second album, Mi'ma'amakim (ממעמקים / From the Depths) in 2005, after releasing the title track at the end of the preceding year. This track was reminiscent of the opening of Psalm 130 (traditionally recited by Jews in times of distress or mourning). The first and last tracks, Aleh Nisa Baruach and Ha'er Et Einav, feature the Israeli singer Shoshana Damari. In addition to tunes in Hebrew and Amharic, Raichel adds Arabic (in Azini), Zulu (in Siyaishaya Ingoma), Hindi (in Milim Yafot Me'ele), and Yemenite Hebrew to his linguistic repertoire.
In November 2006, a greatest hits album was launched to target an international audience. The Idan Raichel Project is a single CD album published by the record label Cumbancha and shipped outside Israel to an international audience for the first time. The liner notes contain English translations of some of the songs while the enhanced CD contains the band's music videos. The release was coordinated with a special Putumayo World Music collection featuring Idan Raichel entitled One World, Many Cultures. A portion of the proceeds for One World, Many Cultures went to support the nonprofit organization Search for Common Ground, which works to transform the way the world deals with conflict, away from adversarial approaches and towards collaborative problem solving.
His third studio album, Ben Kirot Beyti (Within My Walls), released on November 20, 2008, was a collaboration with many world musicians, and nine different vocalists.
Musical style 
Raichel's style is marked by the Middle Eastern vibe, 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.
|2002||The Idan Raichel Project||3x Platinum||120,000+|
|2006||The Idan Raichel Project (International)||N/A||N/A|
|2008||Ben Kirot Beyti||Platinum||40,000|
|2009||Within My Walls||N/A||N/A|
|2013||Quarter to Six||N/A||N/A|
- Payne, John (March 31, 2009). "Idan Raichel Project at the Orpheum Theatre". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
- "Biography". Retrieved 2008-02-14.
- World music Israeli style: Idan Raichel Project
- Easlea, Daryl (2009-04-21). "The Idan Raichel Project Within My Walls Review: It’s another work of the highest standard". BBC Music Review. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Coming to Africa
- Official website
- Idan Raichel at MOOMA (Hebrew)
- Idan Raichel on Myspace
- Curriculum based on several of Idan Raichel's songs
- Idan Raichel interviewed on Al Jazeera English (YouTube)
- National Public Radio Interview: Israeli Musicians Find Unity in Cultural Fusion