Last week on a snowy winters evening i braved the cold and went up to Birmingham to see the fantastic Idan Raichel Project live! For those of you who have never heard of them i can honestly say they are one of the most unique bands i have ever heard. Some sneaky manoevring allowed me to get to the front row and capture some great shots of them which are displayed below.
The band was started up in 2002 "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".
The "architect" of this amazing band is Idan Raichel, an inspiring keyboard player, composer and producer from Kfar Saba in Israel. His experiences growing up led him to be influenced by gypsy music, tango, and jazz as well as Ethiopian music and culture which in turn influenced the music of the project. The whole concept behind his project is the fusion and harmony of differing music, ethnicities and cultures. When recording his first demo he invited "70 of his friends and colleagues from Israel's diverse music scene to participate in his recordings"...and it was all downhill from there. Members of his project have been Ethiopians, Arabs, Yemenites and South Africans among so many others from other places.
As the project grew it became impossible to showcase live every member who had participated in Idan's recordings so he chose seven members who were powerful and colourful artists in their own right. The idea was they would sit in a semi circle and every artist would lead different songs. Idan said "that there would be no front man" which is what makes this band so inclusive and special. While Idan writes and produces the songs other artists perform them which is why he says the word project is so fitting..."we are not a group. It's something in between".
His "poetic lyrics" are sung in "Hebrew, Moroccan, Arabic, Spanish, Cape Verdean Creole, and Swahili, the songs address the struggle for for personal fulfilment and the true meaning of love in a conflicted and complex world". The result of all this is something amazing.
I was sitting on the floor directly in front of the stage and could see and feel every emotion and rhythm pulsating across the band. The show could only be described as a feast - a feast of so many diverse and beautiful sounds, melodies, collaborations and movements. Idan himself plays the keyboard - he frequently closes his eyes or stands up while he is playing or singing - you get the sense that he quite literally feels every beat that comes off that stage - something that can be said for all of the band. Next the two main female singers of the project Maya Avraham and Cabra Cassay. Maya's voice is stunning, powerful and heartfelt all the way through. For me Cabra was something else - not to mention her striking beauty and silky voice she has such an energy in her movemments her energy was truly infectious. The other male members of the band added a diversity of instruments and voices to the mix which makes for a wonderful overall performance. I could not stop moving the whole gig and every song is a completely different experience.
This band ain't nothing like you've ever seen before - check out their videos and their music for a unparelleled experience - and if you get the chance to see them live - JUMP.
Photos are all Copyrighted 2010.