Raichel. One of past decade's biggest musical breakthroughs
Photo: Bartzi Goldblat
Idan Raichel live in UK
Israel's modern musical diversity embarks on whistlestop tour, inviting local musicians to get in touch and join show
Idan Raichel is a household name in Israel and also a known and respected musician worldwide. This young and charismatic bandleader burst onto the world music scene back in 2002, opening up Israel's cultural identity to a wider international audience and providing a window into the young, tolerant, multi-ethnic Israeli society.


Following on from the release of his first album in Israel, Raichel has grown to become one of his country’s biggest musical breakthroughs of the past decade.


A native of Kfar Saba, Idan grew up playing the accordion and listening to Klezmer, Tango and pop music. As he grew, his tastes diversified further into jazz. With the advent of his learning piano and by the time he was 18, he had grown to be a confident improviser that communicated well with other musicians.


Whilst on service he played in the Army rock band, which had him touring military bases, performing covers of Israeli and Western pop hits whilst also arranging and handling the production.

Raichel. 'It's always good to play somewhere new' (Photo: Alex Zalc)


It was after his military service that he began working as a counselor in a school in an area with a high numbering Ethiopian Jewish Community and through that, exposed him to even more diverse music. He soaked up Ethiopian music and African music with a hunger.


Alongside the day job, Raichel had become a successful session player for some of Israel’s established singers, and it was after a stint on that, that he decided it was time for a project that reflected his personal musical ideals.


Setting about on his dream, Raichel invited 70 different musicians from a lot of different backgrounds to work on the project. Backgrounds as diverse as Ethiopian Jews, Arabs, Yemenites, Surinamese and South Africans as well as many others.


The result was The Idan Raichel Project, released in 2002. From that point on it was a huge hit, snowballing an ever increasing amount of accolades and fans whilst at the same time attracting new musicians to join in on the projects subsequent releases. Now 4 albums later the music has included languages as diverse as Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic, Amharic and Swahili.


"The first albums were more about the Israeli music scene as we saw it and then on the 3rd album, we expanded the borders. This brought in musicians from all over from Rwanda, Mali, Columbia and Senegal and we had a even more diverse project than we had previously anticipated."


Musicians from Israel, Yemen and Sudan

The project has toured the world over and outside large venues in their native Israel, they have also been seen in New York's Central Park Summer-Stage, Los Angeles' Kodak Theater, Australia's Sydney Opera House. All this while touring across Europe, South & Central America, Hong Kong, India, Ethiopia and Singapore.


Idan reflects, "Sometime it feels like we are touring airports, we're on the road for so much of the time, doing a date in one country and then another the next day, but its always good to play somewhere new and meet new musicians and invite them to the stage to share each others musical backgrounds together. We feel very lucky to be able to play the UK for four dates and look forward to working with local artists while we are there."

Musicians from different backgrounds (Photo: Katelyn G. Baldwin)


On the UK tour, the band will be taking in London, Leeds, Nottingham and Birmingham and are inviting musicians in each locality to get in touch in the hope that they can join them on stage and be part of the music and the performance. All the musicians need to do is email them and get in touch as soon as possible.  


The band will be the acoustic breakdown of the vast 70 piece ensemble that has featured over the years on the various projects stages. This band on tour will be featuring musicians from Israel, Yemen and Sudan together on stage and hopefully lots of musicians in the UK too, possibly you as well.


For more info of the events, please see the bands website and get in touch as soon as you can so as to be part of one of the decades most successful global breakthrough grass-roots musical movements. He has been recently joined on stage by US music soul legend India Arie and also Malian musical legend Vieux Farka Toure, so you don't know who you may yet be sharing the stage with.


For more info on the tour and how to be part of it or just to buy tickets and enjoy the show see



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