When Mumbai grooved to Israeli sounds

When we entered the dark lane leading to the Don Bosco Shelter in Wadala, initially, the silence was numbing, but soon the feeling was replaced with faint sounds of music and applause. Soon, we figured that the applause was coming from the shelter and what we saw when we entered, convinced us to join in the cheering.

Idan Raichel is the pioneer of the Idan Raichel Project, under which he collaborates with artists of different generations, multiple ethnicities and sings in languages as diverse as Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic, Amharic and Swahili, along with his band. When we entered, he was singing live for boys from the shelter with his uplifting and upbeat music. The kids were delirious with joy and their excitement was evident as they danced enthusiastically till the end of the performance.

Idan Raichel (centre) at the Don Bosco Shelter. Pics / Satyajit Desai

Music minus boundaries
“We are really happy to be here, it’s great to see these kids enjoying themselves. This is the second time I’ve come to India, the last time was five years back,” said dread-locked Raichel, while relaxing after the performance. The musician along with his band and Israel Consul General Orna Sagiv celebrated Hanukkah with the kids, which is a Jewish festival of lights. Post this act Raichel performed at the NCPA, and will now head to Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru.

“We have been touring a lot these days, from Africa, now India, and will then head to the US; it’s a very long tour. We are lucky that we will be able to play Israeli music in all these countries,” shares Raichel, who started his project almost a decade back.

As far as his performances in the city are concerned, the musician was content and although they were performing in front of an unfamiliar audience, they were able to enthrall the members of the house. “We were performing in front of a new audience, but Indians are very open to traditional music, which is great. They welcome music borne out of collaborations,” commented the artist.

India on my mind
Like his collaborations with people from around the world, Raichel also wishes to strike something with Indian artists. He expressed: “I would love to collaborate with Indian artists, if I get a chance. From Ravi Shankar to AR Rahman, Indian music is very famous all over the world, even Bollywood. I’ll be more than happy to collaborate here; it is one of the most interesting artistic environments.”

Raichel’s upcoming album is Open Doors, which is a compilation of some of his collaborations taken place over the years with musicians from all over the world. The 35-year-old has till now released albums such as Mi’ma’amakim, Ben Kirot Beyti, Within My Walls and Traveling Home, among others.
The band performs in Delhi today, Kolkata on December 13 and in Bengaluru on December 14. 

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