I experienced the most extraordinary evening last night. Tucson’s Fox Theater and Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s “Heartbeat of Israel” series brought The Idan Raichel Project to our community. This is world music at its best, and seeing these multicultural musicians sing in their native tongues and playing instruments from around the world was incredible to see live.
For those of you who have never heard of Raichel, the Israeli-born musician described his “project” last night as 95 musicians from all over the world recording and blending their traditional sounds of their countries with modern-day electronic pop all recorded in the basement of his parents home in Israel. The result was super stardom in the Middle East and now a tour in the United States. His music is so respected that the Putumayo world music record label even picked up his music and represents him.
The concert in Tucson last night was not only a feast for the ears, but watching these energetic performers with instruments that would excite any ethnomusicologist was fascinating. I was most impressed with the oud, and arabic lute that was meticulously played by a band member who was cool as Jimmy Page on the guitar.
We also saw and heard a “tar:” a long-necked lute from Iran. The sound was blended beautifully into modern-day music. Check out what this super amazing instrument looks like.
There was even one point during the evening that the percussionist had a bowl full of water and was amplifying poured scoops of it to give us the “running water” sound. All of these unusual sounds really encouraged the audience to feel part of a melting pot, and it was an incredible feeling to see our community participating and learning about these different and diverse cultures that we so rarely encounter.
Here are a couple of photos I took from the evening. You can just feel the energy spilling out of these images…all captured from my cell phone.
My song of the day, blog readers, is one that they performed last night with an Ethiopian singer at the helm. There was so much energy in the room during the song “Ayal Ayale” with the audience up and dancing and clapping along to all of the beats and rhythms. Click HERE to listen, and I encourage you all to check out The Idan Raichel project. You’ll be glad you did!