But when the talented musician first pitched his idea to music executives, many of them had doubts about the project.
“People couldn’t understand why I’m not the singer, but it’s the Idan Raichel Project and why it’s not a band because in every song you can find different lead singers, different musicians... So I think they were unsure of the platform of the project,” Raichel tells Shalom Life.
The 34-year-old’s passion for music began with a very specific instrument. “I started playing the accordion, which is the non-coolest instrument ever,” he laughs.
“I took the accordion from my grandfather’s house... I started playing Israeli folk music and music from all over the world. I think these are the roots for the music that I’m doing till today.”
With India.Arie. 'We just kept writing' (Photo: Miki Krimoda)
The Idan Raichel Project fuses music styles from around the globe, so it’s no surprise that Raichel would like to continue to work with artists from different parts of the world.
“I love people that represent the culture of their countries and they’re actually becoming the soundtrack of their countries,” he says.
Misses streets of Tel Aviv
One of the artists Raichel has worked with is Grammy Award-winning singer India.Arie, who started collaborating with him when she visited Israel.
“She came to visit me in my house,” he reveals. “At the time I thought I would be lucky that India Arie would join the project and sing one song, but then we just kept writing more and more and more.”
The collaboration eventually turned into "Open Door", Arie’s anticipated new album that’s slated to be released in 2012. The American singer has performed with Raichel a number of times since they met – including a performance in Washington that counted US President Barack Obama in attendance.
Raichel is constantly touring and says that he misses his family, his friends, the weather and the streets of Tel Aviv when he’s away from home. “I don’t even have a driver’s license,” he reveals. “I just ride a bicycle here on the streets in Tel Aviv.”
The Idan Raichel Project released a new album recently called "Traveling Home". The album – which is available exclusively on iTunes – features more than 30 songs that were recorded live, for the most part.
Raichel also revealed that he’s been recording new music. “It’s going to be an interesting year,” he says.
For tour dates and to listen to music from the Idan Raichel Project, visit www.myspace.com/theidanraichelproject .
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life
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