june 2012

(Photo: Nitzan  Treystman)

The Wan Fambul/One Family artist roster:

Idan Raichel

‘At the end of the day all people just want to live in peace, dignity and prosperity.’

Idan Raichel is broadly recognized as one of the most innovative and popular musicians in Israel today. He was recently voted Israel’s Musician of the Decade in polls conducted by Israeli news media. In 2002, his group, The Idan Raichel Project burst onto Israel’s music scene, changing the face of Israeli popular music and offering a message of love and tolerance that resonated strongly in a region of the world where headlines are too often dominated by conflict. With an enchanting blend of African, Latin American, Caribbean and Middle Eastern sounds coupled with sophisticated production techniques and a spectacular live show, the Idan Raichel Project has become one of the most unexpected success stories in Israeli music history.

An interview with Idan Raichel on Riz Khan’s One on One, Al Jazeera English

The Project has collaborated with over one hundred artists ranging from Colombian singer Marta Gómez, silken-voiced Somi of Rwandan and Ugandan descent and Cape Verdean diva Mayra Andrade. Idan has toured Europe, Asia, the United States, Australia, South Africa and Latin America.In 2006, his concert in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, marked the first time an Israeli artist performed in Ethiopia and the first time two of The Projects’ lead singers were able to return to the land of their birth. Black Over White, a documentary film by Tomer Heymann, captures the events leading up to the concert and highlights the racism in Israel faced by some African immigrants. Idan explains: “It makes great headlines to talk about racism in Israel or the clash between black and white…But you really need to go a lot deeper than that to understand the problems. Racism is a completely human reaction when you lack knowledge. Those who teach racism are bad people, but not those who don’t have sufficient education to understand what they are hearing.”

Idan’s highly collaborative music is inspired by the belief that lasting peace in the Middle East “will not be reached by signing a peace treaty between our great leaders and their great leaders. Ultimately, it will be achieved through knowing people from other countries as neighbors--because a neighbor is not your enemy.” To achieve this sense of community, Idan explains, “Children in Israel should learn about Palestinian poetry and Syrian music in school.”

Idan points out that the political environment in the Middle East changes extremely quickly, but when asked about what the most important issue Israelis are dealing with in the summer of 2011, Idan states: “We need to look across borders and appreciate the brave people that are willing to create democracies in countries such as Syria and Egypt--and to support them in any way possible. At the end of the day all people just want to live in peace, dignity and prosperity.”

From their forthcoming album Open Door, Indie.Arie and Idan Raichel perform ‘Gift of Acceptance’

He feels music can be a successful tool in helping to unify divisions, citing the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra lead by conductor Daniel Barenboim as an example. In December 2010, Idan performed at the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo, Norway.

“What most people know about Israel is from news,” says Idan, who suggests people “to come to Israel and see it with their own eyes.”

Idan has been working on an album with India.Arie called Open Door (set for release this summer) and this past March released a collaboration with Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré, The Tel Aviv Session, as the Touré-Rachel Collective.

To learn more about Idan Raichel, visit his webpage.

Click here to learn more, sample or download Wan Fambul/One Family.

Bio compiled by Marshall Henry of Modiba Productions

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Laura Fissinger, Christopher Hill, Derk Richardson
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