February 6, 2014
Idan Raichel, before the haircut. Photo by Bartzi Goldblat

Israeli musicians notched up considerable success in the overseas market last year with the likes of Asaf Avidan, Ester Rada  and Idan Raichel logging iTunes downloads and touring the world’s stages.

Raichel, who has been building an international audience since he burst onto Israel’s music scene in 2002, won most of the adulation.

His Quarter to Six album was one of the 10 Best World Albums of 2013 on iTunes, the Apple online store.

“Raichel’s orchestration is subtle, allowing the different languages and instruments to shine on each piece,” an Associated Press reviewer wrote. “There is a unifying spirit in the songs, a spirit that conjures senses of longing, melancholy and hope. This sentiment can be felt in two of the album’s strongest works: There’s “Sabe Deus (God Knows),” performed with Portugal’s Ana Moura, and the haunting “Mon Amour (My Love),” sung by Vieux Farka Toure, the Malian guitarist who is the son of the acclaimed Ali Farka Toure.”

Raichel famously scored a private concert with US President Barack Obama during a visit to Israel in 2013.

Better known for his group, the Idan Raichel Project, the 36-year-old musician has worked hard on his international exposure. Boasting a blend of African, Latin American, Caribbean and Middle Eastern sounds, the Idan Raichel Project has taken its live show across the world to great acclaim.

His group has wowed audiences in New York’s Central Park Summer Stage, Apollo Theater, Town Hall and Radio City Music Hall, Los Angeles’ Kodak Theater, the Sydney Opera House, London’s Royal Albert Hall, and many other stages across Europe, Central and South America, North America, Africa and Asia.

“This is a very exciting moment,” Raichel told Ynet, upon being told his album was among the top world music recordings. “The point is to present to the world the soundtrack of the place you come from. There is no need for any adaptation. This was a very interesting year. I think that our audience has grown.”

Keyboardist/producer/composer Raichel has collaborated and performed with more than 85 musicians, including India Arie and Alicia Keys.

Last year, he surprised fans by cutting off his trademark dreadlocks. With fans calling for him to win a Grammy, Raichel has audiences around the world waiting to hear what he decides to do in 2014.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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