Idan Raichel shares inspiration for his new music, his approach to songwriting

Lucy Bukai/Contributing Writer 

Israeli songwriter Idan Raichel arrived to Biscayne Bay Campus on Thursday, Oct. 17, to talk about what stands behind his creations and to perform a few of his hits.

Some students asked whether the Palestinian-Israeli conflict conflicted with his success as an artist while others were more curious as to what inspired his writing and the “Idan Raichel Project.”

The artist, who served in the Israeli Defense Forces army band, insisted that politics should not interfere to any artist in the process of creation and added that art was meant to provide peace to its receivers.

“We are not trying to focus on Israel national problems, we are here for the beauty of art,” he said.  “In fact, there are many great Palestinian artists who should be more recognized by Israelis.”

The Idan Raichel project, which released its first album in 2002 by Helicon Records, worked with singers from different cultures and backgrounds such as Ethiopian Jews, Arabs and South Africans.  The album received tremendous recognition and demand for concerts throughout Israel with hits“If You Go,” “Come” and “Speaking Quietly.”  Over 70 diverse musicians contributed to the album.  His second album “Mi’ma’amakim” released in 2005 contains the hit “From the Depth.”

One music major student praised Idan Raichel’s song “From the Depth” and asked him what inspired him when making it.  The artist explained that “Mi’ma’amakim” is a section from Psalm 130 that is being recited by Jews while praying.  Shortly after, he walked over to the piano set near him and played the song to which the crowd of University students and representatives from the Israeli consulate joined in.

“My music brings the voices of diversity,” he said.  “I love working with singers of any style, not long ago I worked with the singer Alicia Keys and it was incredible. A connection between nationalities to the ability to create should be avoided.  “My songs talk to different people of any color, race, religion and nationality.”

During his younger years, right after the military service, he worked at an immigrant boarding school in Israel and interacted with many Ethiopians kids who contributed to his inspiration.

A woman in the crowd asked Idan what was it that made him and his music so powerful and different from many Israeli writers.

“There is something very powerful when stepping into different cultures. It’s like a storyteller who shares certain moments in different places–so is music. Behind any color, religion or race there is a meaningful tale and I give it life in my songs.” 

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