Israel’s modern musical diversity embarks on whistlestop tour, inviting local musicians to get in touch and join show
Idan Raichel is a household name in Israel and also a known and respected musician worldwide. This young and charismatic bandleader burst onto the world music scene back in 2002, opening up Israel’s cultural identity to a wider international audience and providing a window into the young, tolerant, multi-ethnic Israeli society.
Following on from the release of his first album in Israel, Raichel has grown to become one of his country’s biggest musical breakthroughs of the past decade.
A native of Kfar Saba, Idan grew up playing the accordion and listening to Klezmer, Tango and pop music. As he grew, his tastes diversified further into jazz. With the advent of his learning piano and by the time he was 18, he had grown to be a confident improviser that communicated well with other musicians.
Whilst on service he played in the Army rock band, which had him touring military bases, performing covers of Israeli and Western pop hits whilst also arranging and handling the production.
It was after his military service that he began working as a counselor in a school in an area with a high numbering Ethiopian Jewish Community and through that, exposed him to even more diverse music. He soaked up Ethiopian music and African music with a hunger.
Alongside the day job, Raichel had become a successful session player for some of Israel’s established singers, and it was after a stint on that, that he decided it was time for a project that reflected his personal musical ideals.
Setting about on his dream, Raichel invited 70 different musicians from a lot of different backgrounds to work on the project. Backgrounds as diverse as Ethiopian Jews, Arabs, Yemenites, Surinamese and South Africans as well as many others.
The result was The Idan Raichel Project, released in 2002. From that point on it was a huge hit, snowballing an ever increasing amount of accolades and fans whilst at the same time attracting new musicians to join in on the projects subsequent releases. Now 4 albums later the music has included languages as diverse as Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic, Amharic and Swahili.
“The first albums were more about the Israeli music scene as we saw it and then on the 3rd album, we expanded the borders. This brought in musicians from all over from Rwanda, Mali, Columbia and Senegal and we had a even more diverse project than we had previously anticipated.”
Musicians from Israel, Yemen and Sudan
The project has toured the world over and outside large venues in their native Israel, they have also been seen in New York’s Central Park Summer-Stage, Los Angeles’ Kodak Theater, Australia’s Sydney Opera House. All this while touring across Europe, South & Central America, Hong Kong, India, Ethiopia and Singapore.
Idan reflects, “Sometime it feels like we are touring airports, we’re on the road for so much of the time, doing a date in one country and then another the next day, but its always good to play somewhere new and meet new musicians and invite them to the stage to share each others musical backgrounds together. We feel very lucky to be able to play the UK for four dates and look forward to working with local artists while we are there.”
On the UK tour, the band will be taking in London, Leeds, Nottingham and Birmingham and are inviting musicians in each locality to get in touch in the hope that they can join them on stage and be part of the music and the performance. All the musicians need to do is email them and get in touch as soon as possible. firstname.lastname@example.org
The band will be the acoustic breakdown of the vast 70 piece ensemble that has featured over the years on the various projects stages. This band on tour will be featuring musicians from Israel, Yemen and Sudan together on stage and hopefully lots of musicians in the UK too, possibly you as well.
For more info of the events, please see the bands website and get in touch as soon as you can so as to be part of one of the decades most successful global breakthrough grass-roots musical movements. He has been recently joined on stage by US music soul legend India Arie and also Malian musical legend Vieux Farka Toure, so you don’t know who you may yet be sharing the stage with.
For more info on the tour and how to be part of it or just to buy tickets and enjoy the show see http://www.idanraichelproject.com/en
About the League
It has now been four years since the dream of tackle football in Israel really took hold. What began as a group of 25 enthusiastic and energetic Sabra athletes playing without pads in the Tel Aviv Sportek has grown exponentially into a thriving community of more than 600 players country-wide, with the demand for and interest in our sport growing stronger every day.
Our parent non-profit body, American Football in Israel, is the government-recognized federation for our sport in the country. As well, our unique partnership with the Kraft family, owners of the NFL’s New England Patriots, has allowed us to cultivate a strong relationship with one of the greatest football organizations in the world. This bond will prove invaluable as we continue to spread the fundamentals of football and teach the principles of sportsmanship, team unity and competition to new and old fans and players of the game.
From four initial teams, to five the next year to seven last season, the IFL has steadily and consistently grown with a big-picture eye on the future. This fall, the league will continue to mature and showcase the expansion of this great and exciting game to the Israeli market as we introduce two new teams to our senior league as well as kick off our brand-new high school developmental league, IFL High.
Creating pockets of football throughout the country at both the youth and senior levels will allow us to extend our reach and exposure through grassroots initiatives and higher media coverage. It is our dream that within the next 10 years, football will join soccer and basketball as a top-tier sport in Israel, to the extent that every child will consider it a viable option to play from a young age.
It is the unique ability of football to inspire and encourage people to higher levels of personal and professional achievement, growth, maturity, and respect for each other that makes it so rewarding to be involved with in any capacity. The past three seasons have produced innumerable memorable moments. With all of our help, the future will no doubt produce even more enthralling memories as the IFL continues to unite people across this great nation. Please join us for what promises to be an incredible journey!
IFL WEBSITE: http://www.ifl.co.il/
Forecasters are predicting a dry winter and expect precipitation to fall below the 30-year average.
Amidst the stalled peace negotiations and continuous regional turmoil, Israelis and Palestinians are uniting around the need for rain in the region, with groups gathering to pray for a wet winter.
Forecasters have predicted drier than average winter months – December through February – and expect precipitation to fall below the 30-year average.
“We use the term ‘a little below average,’ but it could be more than 20 percent below average,” said Dr. Henia Berkovich, Director of the Israeli Meteorological Service.
On Tuesday, over 30 Israeli, Palestinian, and Druze women took part in a silent walking meditation dedicated to bringing rain to the area. Women came out to the Haas Promenade in Jerusalem with umbrellas for the walk.
Earlier in the month, Jewish and Muslim worshippers gathered near a water spring in the West Bank village of Walajeh to pray for rain.
There are one-storey houses and one-storey songs, too. What’s a one-storey song? You’d know if you attended this week’s terrific performance by Jish, an ensemble made up of Ehud Banai, George Samaan, Salem Darwish and Gil Smetana, at the 11th International Oud Festival.
It’s a song that’s lyrical and free of frills, it has an earthy feel to it, evoking dewiness and sounds of dawn. From what Banai used to call “the digital street,” they’ve already disappeared.
But in the Galilee, where the connection between Banai, Samaan and Darwish was made, one-storey songs are still to be found. And if they disappear from there, too, they will remain in the memories of the members of Jish, offered up in a straightforward and captivating way, like strings of rough but precious musical stones.
Imagine a great country show in Nashville, move it to the Middle East, replace the banjo with an oud, and Mary-Beth with Amara. That’s how a performance by Jish sounds, and the way it looks, too. Four not-so-young men sitting side-by-side – no demarcation lines drawn to set the star apart from the others – playing instruments that are beaten and strummed. It’s what you call Galilee country music at its best.
Jish’s performance at the festival (its fourth in a tour that began in Samaan and Darwish’s hometown of Rama, then traveled to Haifa and down to Tel Aviv and made its way Tuesday to Jerusalem ) included Arabic folk songs, songs written by the Lebanese Rahbani brothers and Banai’s own songs in one-storey versions.
Since Samaan’s rough oud playing is an acquired taste, the first songs sounded a bit too basic, but by the fourth and fifth, an Arabic folk song featuring a proud and challenging young woman (in some ways reminiscent of the Israeli 1980s rock bank, Minimal Compact ), the show got on track and stayed that way through the end, sometimes galloping forward but mostly progressing comfortably.
From his own songs, Banai chose mainly those that in one form or another address the complex relations among the children of Abraham.
Most were lovely, but it was the Arabic songs that really hit home. “Hala,” for example, with its echo of Greek music, or the fabulous number depicting, if I understood correctly, a conversation among street laborers that includes the unforgettable line “Yalla, workers, let’s go through the gate of God together.”
Banai did not speak between songs, and for good reason: There was absolutely no need for commentary. Only at the beginning of the encore did he tell a story about how, as a soldier at the beginning of the 1970s, he walked from Kfar Saba to Qalqilyah in the West Bank, caught a taxi to Nablus, also in the West Bank, and from there continued on to Jerusalem.
The story led to a perfect encore: “Sweet Knafa” played beautifully (Samaan exchanged his oud for a violin ), “An Evening of Roses” in Arabic sung by Samaan and Darwish, and for the finale, a great rendition of “Esther” with all the musicians, except for Smetana, singing and drumming (Banai beat on his guitar ).
Smetana, incidentally, was the hidden gem of the performance. If the music were entirely one-storey, his bass provided the groundwork, the basis for everything. Rather than make do with a supporting role, he played melodic patterns that were wonderfully creative, moving freely between Arabic music, Jamaican beats, and even a bit of rock’n'roll.
Given his exemplary thoroughness and humility, it was possible to imagine him at rehearsals staying in the room to work on his part while Banai, Samaan and Darwish went out for a smoke. Next time he can certainly join them.
Local version of HBO’s hit series ‘Sex and the City’ in casting stages
Casting has begun for the Israeli version of HBO’s hit series “Sex and the City.” Young actress Neta Plotnik has been chosen for the lead role and will be playing the local version of columnist Carrie Bradshaw, Ynet has learned.
Plotnik, 27, has acted in the musical drama Danny Hollywood and the online series “The Truth Warriors.”
Producer and actress Noa Tishby has been reported as being considered for the lead role, however the collaboration did not pan out.
The comedy series, produced by Globus Group, will revolve around the lives of three friends in their 30s living in Tel Aviv. It has yet to be sold to a broadcasting network.
The first two episodes are currently being filmed, each costing some $200,000.
The company will then begin negotiating an broadcasting contract.
Globus Group had no comment on the report