Idan Raichel

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Idan Raichel
עידן רייכל
Idan Raichel 2014.jpg
Background information
Born (1977-09-12) 12 September 1977 (age 42)
OriginKfar Saba, Israel
GenresPop, folk, world music
Occupation(s)Keyboardist, producer and composer
InstrumentsVocal, piano, accordion
LabelsHelicon Records

Idan Raichel (Hebrew: עידן רייכל, IPA: [(ʔ)iˈdan 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, and diverse musical influences.[1] Prior to the Project, Raichel was a keyboardist, collaborating with artists such as Ivri Lider. Raichel is considered to be one of the most prominent and successful musical artists in Israel, and is among the most well-known Israeli artists abroad.


Idan Raichel was born in Kfar Saba, Israel to an Eastern European-Jewish family.[2][3][4] He began to play the accordion at the age of nine.[2] He was attracted to gypsy music and tango, and studied jazz piano in high school.[2]

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.[5] As the musical director of the group, he learned to do arrangements and produce live shows.[2][6]

Following his military service, Raichel worked as a counselor at a boarding school for immigrants. There he met young Ethiopian Jews who took him to Ethiopian bars and clubs in Tel Aviv and introduced him to Ethiopian folk and pop music, including that of Mahmoud Ahmed, Aster Aweke and Gigi.[2][6][7]

Music career[edit]

Idan Raichel performing at the Central Park SummerStage, June 2007
The Idan Raichel Project in concert in Tel Aviv, January 2011
The Idan Raichel Project in concert in Warszawa, September 2011

After working as a backup musician and recording with some of Israel's most popular singers, Raichel struck out on his own.[8] 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.[9] He released two albums locally before signing an international deal.

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

The diversity of the Jewish diaspora and the Israeli citizenry interested Raichel and influenced his musical career.[5] 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.[10] The Idan Raichel Project's self-titled first album focusses on these cross-cultural collaborations.[6] It was released locally in 2002 and followed by a second album Out of the Depths in 2005.[11]

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.[12] 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.[6] 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.[13]

Within My Walls[edit]

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.[14] 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.[13] The group has performed at a number of international festivals and traveled to and performed across Europe, South and Central America, Asia and Africa.[13]

Raichel worked with Grammy winner India.Arie[15] on a project called "Open Door".[16] 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.[17] 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.[18]

Quarter to Six[edit]

The Idan Raichel Project's album, Reva LaShesh (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.[19] Quarter to Six reached triple-platinum sales status in Israel, selling over 116,000 copies.[10]

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[20]". On 3 July 2014, Raichel and 18 members of his project performed at Yarkon Park, Tel Aviv in front of 20,000 people[21]

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[22] 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,[23] a series of concerts in Germany with Andreas Scholl[24] and an appearance at the Jazz a la Villette festival in Paris with The Touré-Raichel Collective in September 2015 [25]

The Touré-Raichel Collective[edit]

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.[26][27] 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.[28] 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.[18] 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.[29]

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."[29] While in New York, The Touré-Rachel Collective also appeared on WYNC radio's Soundcheck.[30]

At the Edge of the Beginning[edit]

On 22 January 2016, Raichel's first solo album, Ha'Yad Ha'Chama, entitled "At the Edge of the Beginning" internationally was released worldwide.[31] 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.[32][33] The Idan Raichel Project continues with musical collaboration that includes different cultures, ethnicities, religions and beliefs.[7][34]

2017 - 2018[edit]

January 2017 saw the release of “Spinning Wheel” as a single, and this was followed in May by “A Love Like This” for which Raichel chose Zehava Ben as the vocalist.

In February 2017, just before Raichel was setting off on another long tour of performances in Europe and the US, there was a Gala Evening at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to celebrate the Museum's flag-ship exhibition “Regarding Africa – Contemporary Art and Afro-Futurism”. During the evening Raichel was presented with a special award in recognition of his contribution in bringing peoples together through music.

At the same time the “Raichel – Piano – Songs” tour became a huge success. The show, in which Raichel at last realised his dream of getting close up to his audience and presenting his songs in their original format of piano and voice, stretched into 150 shows in Europe, the US, South America and, of course, Israel, where it ran for 17 successive dates at the Shuni Amphitheater.

Raichel recorded all the shows at Shuni and selected the best and the most moving of the recordings, giving rise to the new 36-track album with “To Stay” a new instrumental track, new versions of some of his biggest hits, songs which he composed for other artists, and some special versions – some from the rehearsal studios and some with an orchestra. Raichel decided to close the album with a new song called “To Forgive and to Forget”.

The new album was released in September 2017 and the tour was rounded out with a series of shows at the Shuni Amphitheater in October 2017. In June 2018, the album was listed as a Gold album.

The Latin Grammy Awards ceremony was held in November 2017, and amongst the nominees for “Album of the Year” was Danay Suarez's album “Palabras Manuales” which included a version of the Cuban songstress and Raichel dueting on a new version of “Closer Now” {“Achshav Karov”} from the “Quarter to Six” album.

In February 2018, Raichel released a single called "And If You’ll Come to Me" which he wrote and composed. The song was produced cooperatively with musical producer Noam Akrabi.

In May 2018, Raichel released a single called "Beresheet." The song was written during Raichel's travels around the world. Inspired by his encounters with people from India and Africa. The song is accompanied with a video clip by sand artist Ilana Yahav.

In June 2018 there was a multidisciplinary festival, Raichel's brainchild, at the Live Park Amphitheater in Rishon LeZion. This 10 days festival (to which all the tickets where sold out in advance) blend music, food and art alongside a few special appearances by The Idan Raichel Project, with their new line-up. The idea grew out of Raichel's desire to share facets of life that he enjoys with his huge audience. Within the framework of the festival there was a culinary area under the direction of the innovative chef Yuval Ben Neriah, leader of the recent food scene in Israel, an exhibition of photographs by Ziv Koren, known worldwide for his daring and breathtaking documentary projects, and a stage for performances by exciting musicians ( SHIRAN, Di Gasen Trio, Quarter to Africa, Yossi Fine..) who brought musical experiences from around the world.

2019-present: And If You Will Come To Me[edit]

Idan raichel released his new album "And If You Will Come to Me" on January 31, 2019 on digital platforms worldwide. "And If You Will Come to Me" reflects the next phase in a personal journey that began nearly three years ago when he put his 14-piece supergroup "The Idan Raichel Project" on hiatus and began performing more intimate solo and small ensemble concerts.

Along with guest musicians from Japan, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Cuba and India, "And If You Will Come to Me" features duets with African guitar wizard Bombino, Cuban GRAMMY nominee Danay Suarez, Israeli stars Berry Sakharof and Zehava Ben, and a special new studio track with the reunited Idan Raichel Project.

The album's title track (“Ve'Eem Tavo'ee Elay” in Hebrew) has already become one of Idan's biggest hits ever in Israel, with 20 million streams on YouTube alone, and the singles from the album have racked up a total of 35 million YouTube plays. Idan supported the release of "And If You Will Come to Me" with four arena shows in Tel Aviv followed by an extensive international tour in March 2019 that will see him performing in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the US.

The release of "And If You Will Come to Me" marks a new stage in Idan's ongoing personal and artistic journey, but it also reflects a rediscovery of his original inspirations.

On May 18 2019, the Idan Raichel Project played at the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. A year later, in 2020, he wrote with Doron Medalie the song "Feker Libi" by Eden Alene, which will represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.[35]

Musical style[edit]

Raichel's style has Middle Eastern influences, but also draws on Latin American and African music.[26] While the majority of his songs are in Hebrew, a few are entirely in Arabic, 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[edit]

On 16 January 2014 ACUM announced Idan Raichel won the ACUM Prize as Composer of the Year 2013 for Quarter to Six.[36][37] On 1 November 2014, Raichel received the MTV role model award introduced by Alicia Keys.[38] 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 King III; the first time the organization granted the award to a non-U.S. citizen.[39][40] 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".[41]

Views and opinions[edit]

Raichel expressed his view that real peace can come when people will understand each other culture and learn about it.[42]

Raichel used his Instagram account to defend Doron Zahavi (code name: Captain George), a former interrogator for Unit 504 of the Israeli Military Intelligence[43] who was accused of using torture and sodomy in the process of interrogating Mustafa Dirani.[44][45] In this context, Raichel writes "I really don't care how 'George' extracted information"[45] adding that "instead of receiving a medal of valor, he must now defend his name. This is a disgrace."[44]

In a recent interview (ca. 2015), 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."[46]

In 2013 Raichel expressed his view that Israeli artists have a duty to play an active "role" in public relations for the Jewish state[45] and asserted that Israeli conscientious objectors are at the very bottom of Israeli society.[44][47]

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."[48]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Israel certificate Sales
US World[49]
The Idan Raichel Project 5× Platinum 150,000+
  • Released: 20 January, 2005
  • Label: Helicon
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming
3× Platinum 140,000+
Within My Walls
  • Released: 30 November, 2008
  • Label: Helicon, Cumbancha
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming
4 3× Platinum 120,000+
The Tel Aviv Session

(as part of The Touré-Raichel Collective)

  • Released: February 2012
  • Label: Cumbancha
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
Quarter to Six
  • Released: March 2013
  • Label: Helicon, Cumbancha
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming
9 4× Platinum 120,000+
The Paris Session

(as part of The Touré-Raichel Collective)

  • Released: 30 September, 2014
  • Label: Cumbancha
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming
At the Edge of the Beginning
  • Released: 3 December, 2015
  • Label: Helicon, Cumbancha
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
3 Platinum 40,000+
And If You Will Come to Me
  • Released: 30 January, 2019
  • Label: Helicon, Cumbancha
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Israel certificate Sales
US World[49]
The Idan Raichel Project
Traveling Home
  • Released: 14 July, 2011
  • Label: Helicon, Cumbancha
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming
2× Platinum 80,000+

Live albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Israel certificate Sales
US World[49]
Raichel - Piano - Songs Gold 15,000+

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Payne, John (31 March 2009). "Idan Raichel Project at the Orpheum Theatre". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Biography". Official website. Retrieved 14 February 2008.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "About". Official website. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b Levin, Jordan (30 January 2007). "Keyboardist is Stirring the Melting Pot of Israel". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d "Idan Raichel Project". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  7. ^ a b Minder, Raphael. "Israeli Singer of the World". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  8. ^ "World music Israeli style: Idan Raichel Project". BBC News.
  9. ^ Cain, Susan. "Let his Music do the Talking". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  10. ^ a b Darling, Cary. "Ethiopian CDs put the World at your Fingertips". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  11. ^ "The Idan Raichel Project - Idan Raichel's Project". Discogs. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Idan Raichel Biography". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  13. ^ a b c Edgar, Jacob. "Idan Raichel's Biography". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  14. ^ Sole, Deanne. "Idan Raichel Project: Within my Walls". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  15. ^ Herrera, Monica. "Grammys 2011: 15 Things You didn't see on TV". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  16. ^ Graff, Gary. "India.Arie Hopes her 'Lost' Album can find Release". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Idan Raichel Project Biography". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  18. ^ a b Edgar, Jacob. "Idan Raichel Biography". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  19. ^ Mitter, Siddhartha. "Album Review: The Idan Raichel Project, 'Quarter to Six'". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  20. ^ Alicia Keys feat. Idan Raichel & Ali Amr "We Are Here" אלישיה קיז ועידן רייכל. 11 October 2014 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ Idan Raichel in HaYarkon Park ynet, 5 July 2014
  22. ^ Patrick Bruel - Pourquoi ne pas y croire... 8 April 2015 – via YouTube.
  23. ^ desertjazz. "The Idan Raichel Project in Japan 2015". DESERT JAZZ.
  24. ^ TLV1 (8 February 2016). "Raichel & Scholl: An Israeli-German musical match-up". TLV1 RADIO.
  25. ^ "Hapfind". Hapfind.
  26. ^ a b Gelfand, Alexander (10 May 2012). "Coming to Africa". The Forward.
  27. ^ Morgante, Michelle. "Idan Raichel Project Builds Global Unity". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  28. ^ Mital, Sachyn. "The Touré-Raichel Collective: 13 April 2013 – New York". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  29. ^ a b "From Mali to Israel, a Musical Bridge". The New York Times. 18 November 2014.
  30. ^ The Touré- Raichel Collective – Live Radio – טורה- רייכל קולקטיב. 24 November 2014 – via YouTube.
  31. ^ "Idan Raichel gets personal in his first solo album". The Times of Israel.
  32. ^ "Wiener Konzerthaus - Programmdetail".
  33. ^ wina. ""Building Bridges" - Idan Raichel - Wina - Das jüdische StadtmagazinWina – Das jüdische Stadtmagazin". Wina - Das jüdische Stadtmagazin.
  34. ^ Levin, Jordan. "Keyboardist is Stirring the Melting Pot of Israel". Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  35. ^ "Eden Alene will sing "Feker Libi" for Israel at Eurovision 2020". wiwibloggs. 3 March 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  36. ^ "זוכי פרס אקו"ם: הדג נחש, עידן רייכל, אריאל זילבר, יונתן רזאל". mako. 16 January 2014.
  37. ^ "ynet פרסי אקו"ם: מפעל חיים לאריאל זילבר – תרבות ובידור". ynet.
  38. ^ Kadi, Andrew (20 November 2014). ""You inspire me," Alicia Keys tells singer who fundraises for Israeli army". The Electronic Intifada. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  39. ^ "MLK's son visits Jerusalem to confer awards on Israelis - The Times of Israel". The Times of Israel.
  40. ^ "Rivlin hosts Martin Luther King III in Jerusalem". The Times of Israel.
  41. ^
  42. ^ "The worldly Idan Raichel on breaking down barriers and performing for Obama". Jewish News. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  43. ^ Levinson, Chaim; Kyzer, Liel (28 July 2010). "Ex-interrogator, accused of torture, tapped to advise police on Arab affairs". Haaretz. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  44. ^ a b c "Idan Raichel: Captain George deserves Medal of Valor". Walla! Culture. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  45. ^ a b c "Idan Raichel backs alleged IDF torturer "Captain George"". Middle East Monitor. 2 January 2014. Archived from the original on 27 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  46. ^ Super User. "Media". Archived from the original on 14 November 2015.
  47. ^ "Idan Raichel: Artists who do not serve in the army are at the bottom of Israeli society". Keshet Broadcasting#mako. 5 April 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  48. ^ UNITED PIANOS - World's first 22 hands piano piece. 12 December 2015 – via YouTube.
  49. ^ a b c "Idan Raichel". Billboard. Retrieved 21 February 2020.

External links[edit]