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The Idan Raichel Project

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Album Review

The Idan Raichel Project already have a pair of albums available in Israel, but this is their worldwide debut. Here, there's something of a compilation from the two previous albums. An interesting collective of musicians (up to 70) is represented on the album, taken in surprising proportions from the Ethiopian Jew population based on the airlifts to Israel (Operation Moses, Operation Solomon, etc.) over the years. Other musicians hail from other Israeli populations, nearby nations, and a couple of South Africans for good measure. With this in mind, Raichel himself puts together pieces drawn from traditional works in the lands of origin for these artists. Songs are written in Hebrew and Ethiopian primarily, but also Arabic and Zulu. The pieces run the course from laid-back dancehall ("Brong Faya," with vocals from Surinam's Sergio Braams) to ultra-smooth exotica on "Azini" (with vocals from Arab-Israeli Mira Anwar Awad) to a sort of solo acoustic isicathamiya (with vocals from Bongani Xulu). This is apart from the Hebrew and Ethiopian love songs and more. The album is almost overly eclectic, but the departure from the usual Israeli pop is refreshing. There's plenty to come still from this project, and the results thus far are certainly worth hearing for listeners within the world music scene and likewise those on the outside.

The Idan Raichel Project, The Idan Raichel Project
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