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I attended a really great concert last night, with smillaraaq. Israeli artist Idan Raichel, who sings and plays keyboards, brought three vocalists (male Middle Eastern, female Sudanese Israeli of Ethiopian ancestry,* female Ashkenazi Israeli), a Uruguayan percussionist, a Georgian (as in, Transcaucus, not U.S. South) oud/guitar artist, and a Moroccan guitarist, along with a couple of other fellow Israelis on drums and bass. The music is rooted in traditional melodies from a wide variety of cultures - most strongly Near Eastern and Ethiopian (Raichel learned a lot of what he knows from Ethiopian musicians in Israel).

It's delicious, passionate, complex, multi-layered, and often very danceable - more than half the audience erupted from their seats to run down and groove in front of the stage and up the aisles (only to be shooed back to their seats by the Lisner security staff). There were too many lovely moments to remember off the top of my head, but the instrumental showcases that stood out for me were: Rony Iwryn's remarkable percussion solo involving terracotta bowls of various sizes filled with water - he poured it back and forth, tapping and drumming on the bowls with his fingertips and palms, calling forth ravishingly beautiful sounds; Eyal Sela's solos on flute, clarinet (Klezmer-style), and other woodwinds; and Mark Kakun's beautiful instrumental on electric guitar played more like a classical guitar. All three vocalists had immensely powerful melodic voices and were fun to watch as well.

  • MySpace page with streaming music and concert tour dates
  • Idan Raichel Web site with pictures from the current tour (scroll down - it's the first picture set, the one that's showing in the enlargement frame)
  • An amateur video that will nonethless give some idea of what the concert was like (from an earlier concert)

*ETA: I've been reading around the Intarwebs and found out some more about the singer that Raichel introduced as coming from "the refugee camps of Sudan": she is Cabra Casey, born to Jewish Ethiopian parents who had fled to Sudan and eventually ended up in Israel. So my bad, and I certainly made some near-sighted assumptions. >sigh<. Fail better, cho ... .

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
smillaraaq
Mar. 26th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
The Linsner guards and ushers were nice about trying to do their jobs, at least -- the lady who was down in my aisle the first time was a pleasant grandmotherly sort. I'm sure they could tell the crowd was just up and happy and full of love, not out of control and threatening to get violent or anything like that. And by the end of the set I suspect they just gave up trying to herd all of us crazy dancers around. XD

Best live video I've found yet in poking through YouTube:


From a couple of months ago but it must be from this same tour, it's the same lineup (and even the same stagewear): "Im Tachpetza" merging into "Be'Yom Shabbat" at the end.

There's a few folks on YT who have clips of the virtuoso water-percussion solo, but none of them I've seen yet have good enough sound to convey just how magical that bit was in person.
chomiji
Mar. 27th, 2009 11:45 am (UTC)

Yes, it looks like it might be a pre-tour show back home - he's certainly speaking Hebrew when he does the intros. I still can't catch the male singer's name! I have found just about everyone else's - the brown-haired girl is Maya Avraham.

I think that Iwryn's water percussion technique has been growing and evolving, so even a good video from previous years won't accurately convey the magic.

The Washington Post music blog posted a review in the afternoon. The guy who wrote doesn't seem to have the sort of soul that goes with the shimmering heartbeat slower stuff.

smillaraaq
Mar. 27th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
The guy who wrote doesn't seem to have the sort of soul that goes with the shimmering heartbeat slower stuff.

..."camel trains and shifting sands"? ARRRRRGH. That's one of the most infuriatingly stereotyped bits of nonsense I've seen from those folks since their dippy coverage of the NMAI inaugural parade. *headdesk*

(Don't even get me started on the weird little aside about folks thinking a skinny Jewish boy with dreads could be hot, or the repeated comparisons to Portishead. Um, NO. Makes me wanna grab a stack of records by Aster Aweke and Ofra Haza and Cesaria Evora on the one hand, and a copy of "Sour Times" on the other, and set up a little re-education program. A few slower and moodier numbers does not magically turn things into Klatchian trip-hop, especially not when all the stronger jazz and folkloric influences are right up front!)
rachelmanija
Mar. 26th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
I loved that song of theirs that you sent me.
chomiji
Mar. 27th, 2009 11:50 am (UTC)

They were really very infectiously joyful in concert - even better than the recordings in many ways. They'll be in your neck of the woods on the weekend!

eldanis
Apr. 2nd, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
Oooo! I've heard one or two of his songs... this makes me want to seek out more of his work.

Also, I have been dumb, and haven't been reading my flist in probably nearly a year now. I have a few folks tracked via email, though, and now you're on that list. *smacks self for not fixing that sooner*
smillaraaq
Apr. 2nd, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
Ping me on AIM some evening and I'd be happy to hook you up with some music samples... :)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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