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b’s Delve into Cultural World Music

The Luckman Invites Idan Raichel’s Cultural Celebration

Idan+Raichel
Idan Raichel

Idan Raichel

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Idan Raichel

Kyle Frizol, Intern

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Los Angeles is home to dozens of cultures, which affords individuals the opportunity to delve into new and unexplored traditions and experiences. This very opportunity came last Saturday at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex, as Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel performed a collection of songs to a sold-out crowd.

Idan Raichel, a celebrated artist that has grown and developed throughout the last 20 years of music culture, has made  a lasting impression on world music. Born in 1977 in Kfar Saba, Israel, Idan quickly learned how to play the accordion and then the piano, which  he intrinsically studied throughout his early high school years. After serving in the Israeli military band regiment for a year, Raichel moved onto creative works with the likes of famous Israeli composers and musicians such as Cabra Casey and Ravid Kahalani. Ultimately, through his Idan Raichel Project in 2002, Raichel developed his own personal sound and quickly moved from a background singer and performer, into the spotlight as a lead singer-songwriter.

At his performance at the Luckman, entitled Idan Raichel – Piano – Songs, Raichel performed nearly a dozen pieces  from across his discography, as well as singles from his newest album, At the Edge of the Beginning. With audience members filling every seat in the theatre, Raichel created a performance that left listeners singing along while Idan looked on.

As he described during a lapse between songs, “…These songs are written in Hebrew, and I feel that they are best enjoyed that way.” Thus, for individuals who did  not speak Hebrew, this was a very new and unique experience that allowed for an early understanding to develop as well as  appreciate a culture that is vastly different to what many CSULA students have ever been exposed to.

For Raichel, through the path that he has paved in his music, the journey has allowed him to meet many individuals and musicians who had overcome great hardship to get where they are today. Most notably, Cabra Casey, an Ethiopian Jew who was born in a refugee camp in Sudan, freed herself, and went on to become a revered ethnic musician, notably performing on the Idan Raichel Project.

Furthermore, as Raichel’s popularity continued to grow and his exposure skyrocketed, (multiple albums he had produced had gone multi-platinum in Israel by this point), he met and exchanged musical ideas with the likes of Colombian singers, such as Marta Gomez, who he recorded and co-wrote songs with during the Within My Walls album production.

Alongside the group of musicians and singers that he met in South America , Africa, and Europe, he was allowed the opportunity to perform at international festivals and events, developing an understanding and appreciation for  the world around him. According to Raichel “…through my travels across the world, I have grown as a greatly as a musician.”

Raichel played a variety of styles throughout his performance, mainly from the comfort of the Steinway piano that he sat before, only pausing to use his looping system to create drum patterns and percussion instruments that he had adapted for the show. Specifically, Idan relied on the Middle Eastern influences that he had grown up around in Tel Aviv and Israel, a style that allowed him to emphasize his deeply rich Hebrew & Amharic lyrics. However, in one specific song, Idan sang in English, which gave audience members the opportunity to analyze and decipher the style Idan developed in his songs.

During his performance on Saturday evening, Raichel offered both students and other listeners surrounding the area the opportunity to appreciate and understand a culture that is untouched and pure as it is performed by Idan. For Raichel, a man that was born and raised in Israel and Tel Aviv, this style of music is all he has known. B/y performing his own variation of Middle Eastern, Ethiopian, and South American influenced music and lyrics, audiences were provided a rich story and  a new form of musical expression, all while  maintaining a constant understanding of his message, regardless if audience members understood it . Through Raichel, language was not a necessity. The music spoke for itself.

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