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The Idan Raichel Project

I don't think any of you on the f-list share my world music habit, but every time I play this one, I fall in love with it all over again.

The Idan Raichel Project (the group's name as well as the album's) is an Israeli group, but the songs and the musicians who sing and perform them are from multiple cultures: Jewish (both European and Middle Eastern), Arabic, Ethiopian. The melodies, to my relatively uneducated ear, echo those of their parent cultures, but they are arranged and sung with more passion and rock/pop sensibility than I've heard in more traditional arrangements of this type of music. Some of them are ravishingly romantic sounding (like the first track, Bo'ee/Come With Me), some angst-filled, some lively and optimistic.

I hope this talented bunch will make some more beautiful music together in the future.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 20th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
I don't think any of you on the f-list share my world music habit

Hey, I resemble that remark! ;)

Very, very nice stuff...if you like that blend of folk with rock/pop sensibilities, do you know Ishtar or Wounded Land?
Mar. 20th, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC)

Hee, I was thinking of your tastes more in terms British/Celtic more than general world music ... no, I haven't heard of them! That's why I called myself uneducated - I'm buying Putomayo's sampler-type discs and trying to learn what else I might like.

Sometimes it works really well, as in this case, and sometimes the result is a little more mixed, as with British artist Alice Russell - the song they had by her on "A New Groove" was actually the only thing of that album of hers that I really, really like (although I'm learning to like her a little better with repeated listenings).

Mar. 21st, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
Ah, you weren't around in time for some of my past music-dump postings. I have a particular thing for bouncy African pop music -- my Johnny Clegg obsession goes about as far back as the Steeleye Span/Fairport Convention axis; more recently I started getting into some Middle Eastern stuff, and my latest explorations have been heavy on cross-cultural hip-hop and prog-metal with operatic or ethnic-folk influences. Really, if I have a favorite genre it would probably be unclassifiable genre/culture mashups. ;)

Ishtar is a multilingual Israeli singer who's recorded solo and with the band Alabina; Alabina in particular was a blend of Spanish gypsy and flamenco elements with Middle Eastern folk and Eurodisco dance grooves...think Ofra Haza meets the Gypsy Kings and you're sort of in the right ballpark.

Orphaned Land are an Israeli prog-metal band that blend Middle Eastern folk with hard rock elements; many of their songs feature mixed male and female lead vocalists for a sound that might appeal to fans of groups like Nightwish or Onmyou-za.

You can hear several of Orphaned Land's songs on their MySpace page; try "Norra El Norra" and "Beloved's Cry" in particular.

Ishtar's official website (linked from the Wiki page) has a couple of sound clips from her most recent album, but there's a much broader selection if you poke through YouTube:

Yalla Beena Yalla (w/ Alabina)

Horchat Hai Caliptus (solo -- not one of her dancey tracks, quiet and soulful)

Salma Ya Salama (w/ Alabina)

Habibi (Sawah) (solo)

Tierra Santa (live, w/Alabina)

I've got a couple of French compilation albums of ME stuff you might enjoy -- the other acts I'm most obsessive about, I don't know if they'd be as much to your tastes, Rachid Taha (Algerian techno/punk/rai) and Tarkan (Turkish dance-pop).

Mar. 24th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)

I'll have to remember to look at the Orphaned Land site when I'm at home - work blocks MySpace. (In fact, that's how you can differentiate serious blog sites from social sites ... my office allows access to LJ, Blogger, and Blogspot, but not Xanga or MySpace or Facebook.)

Ishtar sounds good - I should have remembered her this weekend when I went to Borders to get the latest Fruits Basket.

(Totally OT: if you have a moment, I'd love to have your input on my saiyuki_time things. Plz?)

Mar. 25th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
I've got just about all the Alabina/Ishtar stuff available except her most recent solo album, so I could certainly upload a sampler if you're interested! Anything else you'd like to check out -- Maori or Hawaiian fusion stuff, African, Turkish, Algerian rai? Have you ever heard 1 Giant Leap?
Mar. 27th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)

I'm enjoying a lot of different types of world music courtesy of Putumayo, including Pacific islands, North African, and African. Johnny Clegg & Juleika was one of the African groups I liked on that sampler. There was a very cute Hawaiian cowboy swing number on Swing Around the World, and I liked a lot of the songs on South Pacific Islands (which they don't seem to have anymore on their own site ... it had things by Te Vaka, OK! Ryos, and Whirimako Black, among others. For the African and North African, neither too hard rock nor too dissonant is probably best for me. Again, some days I don't even feel like Klezmer, and that could be construed as my native music ... .

Mar. 27th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
I've got an insanely huge Johnny Clegg collection, so more samples are definitely doable there. What tracks were on the sampler? I can try to pick out stuff that's closest to that feel. There's some Whirimako Black stuff on 1 Giant Leap, and if you liked her voice you might also enjoy Hinewehi Mohi -- Oceania's quieter tracks are favorite writing music for me when I'm doing sad, quiet scenes. (No Lullabye was written to a mix of quieter Ishtar and Oceania tracks, Undertow was mostly Oceania, October Project, Lhasa, and a bit of Tarkan; "Haera Ra" in particular is just my mental soundtrack to the bit where Hakkai is watching Gojyo dozing on his lap.)

Who was the paniolo swing number -- Peter Moon, Melveen Leed, Iz...? I've got tons of Hawaiian stuff and if you want lush and swooningly pretty, the less-bouncy numbers are hard to beat.

Rachid Taha probably has a bit too much of a raspy punk sensibility at times, but you might like the glossier pop edge of Cheb Khaled or some other rai singers. Tarkan's less dance-oriented stuff might work too, he's got a very yearningly romantic sort of voice and that side really comes out in the quieter numbers. As for stuff with klezmer tinges, hmmm...Firewater is one of my great obsessions, they've got a sort of klezmer-meets-spy-movie-soundtracks-meets-carny-music weird indy rock thing going for them, but some of their stuff may be a bit too much on the rough-edged or raucous side for you. You might like Lhasa de la Sela, though -- she's got an amazing voice and sings in three languages, blending bits of klezmer and flamenco and jazz cabaret...

De Cara A La Pared
Con Todo Palabra
Anywhere On This Road (live)
El Desierto
Mar. 28th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)

Oh, don't get me wrong - bouncy is good! The paniolo number was by the Ka'au Crater Boys. Also check out the clips for Islands on Amazon. I just don't want too much raucous, grinding dissonance. Also check out Gypsy Groove, which is my new favorite Putumayo disk.

I do like Lhasa de la Sele - she does have a lovely voice! For another lovely voice, check out Carrie Newcomer, whose lyrics sometimes end up in my icons. Try "Be True" on Regulars and Refugees, and "Love Is Wide" and "Seven Dreams " on The Age of Possibility.

Mar. 28th, 2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
Ah, if bouncy is good too, then you should be good with lots of Hawaiian music -- bouncy and cheerful or lush and pretty are basically the primary modes. :)

Here's a very quick-and-dirty sampler of stuff that was handy on my laptop -- some Oceania, 1GL, Ishtar/Alabina, and various other odds and ends. I need to poke about through the desktop and archival CDs for the Hawaiian and African stuff in particular, but there were enough random pretty things handy on this hard drive to at least give you a taste of some fun acts:

You might also find some stuff you'll like poking through my Youtube playlists -- the international one does have some tracks that are probably a bit more dissonant than you'd like, but everything on the Hawaiian playlist is either bouncy or lush.
Mar. 31st, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)

Oooh, thanks for pulling that together for me! I have downloaded them and are starting to listen to them.

Apr. 2nd, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
Hee, I saw that familiar-lookin' music tag on your last post! :) Let me know if anything particularly does or does not click and that can help me narrow things down when I look through the main bulk of the collection...
Apr. 3rd, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)

Yes, I'm playing them at work, which is good - I'll notice which ones make me perk up and go, happily, "Oh, this song again!"

Even if all you ever give me is this, it's substantial and valuable.

Apr. 4th, 2008 04:42 am (UTC)
Ah, but I love to hook people on music I love, so really it's no trouble. It's very self-serving, really, it gets me more people I can talk about obscure favorites with, and in my dreams the word of mouth will spread and perhaps eventually contribute to increased record/ticket sales and more happy fun time music for me! XD
Apr. 8th, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC)

That's right, go ahead and try to convince me you're self-serving ... .


I'm developing a love-hate thing with Alabina - sometimes they're simply melodic, which I love, but then they get either harsher or more over-produced, and I want to turn it off.

Apr. 9th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the studio records do have a bit of a tendency towards the sort of really high-gloss production I associate with dance music. I don't tend to care for that hyper-polished feel in a more rock vein -- I have a weakness for grungy lo-fi dissonance there -- but somehow that same sort of studio polish that puts me right off some things doesn't bug me as much here. It seems to be very much a track-by-track thing, although in the case of Ishtar's solo work I'd say there's a little more of that glossy Eurodisco feel to her first album than the second...I need to go hunting for her third, and the latest Manau.

Oh! Speaking of stylistic changes, if the rawness of Tod A.'s vocals on the handful of Firewater tracks didn't put you right off, they've FINALLY got a new studio album of original songs coming out later this year -- and since Tod's spent the last three years mostly bumming about Southeast Asia and the Middle East, the world music elements in the mix are stronger than ever. You can stream the entire thing online: http://www.reverbnation.com/firewater

And here's the song I mentioned in that comment to avierra that was the biggest part of my mental soundtrack to "How To Play Dead": http://www.sendspace.com/file/gq7hy9 An awful lot of Tod's lyrics, with their wounded alcoholic self-deprecating snark, have a very Gojyo-ish sort of black humour feel to me, and this song's always been a particular favorite of mine -- there's just something about the buildup of that aching violin and funeral-march drums against his lost-dog-howl vocals that really pushes my buttons.

And I still need to get you some October Project, if you haven't heard them already.
Apr. 9th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)

I'm doing the love-hate thing with Firewater too - I liked "Another Perfect Catastrophe," but I'm not so sure about the other two. I need to listen to them a couple more times.

I'll get the other song if/when I have some time tomorrow ...

October Project sounds familiar, but I can't think why!

Apr. 9th, 2008 11:12 pm (UTC)
Well, if you're not instantly allergic to Tod's whiskey-and-cigarettes voice, that's a band whose sound varies pretty widely from album to album, and the one album that I had handy on my laptop when I put that first sampler together is not the one I'd have chosen to showcase their more world-music side of things! I like all of their varied sounds, going all the way back to Tod's more abrasive-industrial days with Cop Shoot Cop, but I'm terribly weak for his mordant sense of humor.

This latest one, with all of the travelling he's been doing in the last few years, has heavier and broader international influences across the board. So far I'm particularly fond of "This Is My Life", "6:45", and "A Place Not So Unkind".

October Project's one of the two bands I primarily based my 10K/585 fanmix around; the Tool/A Perfect Circle stuff might be a little too loud and crunchy for your tastes, but I think you might enjoy OP; it's lush and textured and Mary Fahl's voice makes me think of whiskey and bittersweet dark chocolate all wrapped up in black velvet. Here's a few quick Youtube links until I can get another sampler put together:

Bury My Lovely
Return To Me
Funeral In His Heart

("Bury My Lovely" was the one that really changed the structure of the mix; I was trying to come up with something evocative of Gojyo's abusive childhood and everything I was coming up with was too specific or had the wrong emotional tone; a friend suggested that one when I went looking for suggestions, and as I explored their back catalog more and more good stuff kept jumping out at me; first "Funeral In His Heart", which was the perfect Gonou/Kanan song I was looking for, and then TONS of stuff that fit the reincarnation theme, including "Return To Me", and that's when it really started to gel...)
Apr. 9th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC)

>> October Project <<

Yes, yes, yes!!!!

I love them! 100% perfect match!

(And you should definitely check out the Carrie Newcomer stuff if you haven't - more optimistic, a little more country, but it falls into the same quadrant. Let me see if I can find some proper video clips for her ... .)

Edited at 2008-04-09 11:57 pm (UTC)
Apr. 10th, 2008 12:33 am (UTC)
Ah, if you like that, you really should snag my fanmix and then just delete any of the non-OP tracks that don't work for you after a test listen! XD

It's also got a bit of world music -- a yearning, sensual Tarkan song (from his one English-language album to date) for Gojyo, and a Bill Miller song because I seem to be just constitutionally incapable of putting a fanmix together without at least one native artist. You might like one of my Avatar fanmixes as well, which is particularly heavy on the folky-rock side of things, and has a bit more Ulali and Joanne Shenandoah (in her English-language folk-rock side) if you liked their voices from the last sampler.

If you're shopping for more OP, you want to get the first two albums, October Project and Falling Further In; Mary Fahl went solo after that and according to the friend who hooked me up with this stuff, the later albums after the lineup change just aren't quite as good. She does recommend Fahl's solo work, but says it also isn't quite as magical as the stuff with the full band.

Speaking of rich altos, do you have any Christine Collister?

Apr. 10th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)

I went to get the fan-mix, and there was some issue with the download - probably the server was just too busy. I'll try again later.

No, can't say I've heard CC. And I could find any Newcomer vid for a song I knew except one for Angels Unawares - which is indeed a lovely song.

Apr. 10th, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
Are you a Richard Thompson fan? She used to perform as a duo a lot with fellow UK-folkie Clive Gregson, and Gregson-and-Collister do a lot of backing vocals on the earlier Thompson albums.

Hmmm, looks like the Avatar mix with the two Collister songs is still a live link. Parabol(a) might just have expired, Megaupload eventually kills the link if it goes long enough without being downloaded; here's a fresh copy on Sendspace.

And Newcomer's got a very nice voice, now I'm jogging my brain trying to think just who she reminds me of. If you don't mind country-ish touches, do you already know Gillian Welch?
Apr. 14th, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)

I got the Parabola download on this system (still will have to do it again from home) ... but I've barely had a chance to listen to it - it's been One of Those Days at work. (We're implementing a new Time and Attendance system in a very haphazard fashion ... as the "editor" of one of the places that people will go for info on it, I've been attending lots of briefing sessions.)

I recall that my sister liked Richard Thompson - I think I liked him OK but never got around to getting any of his stuff. Probably I should give another listen. (Do you mean Linda Thompson too, above? - you said "she" ... )

Apr. 14th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
Nope, I meant Chris Collister in that "she" comment, since we'd been talking about her earlier and I thought you might have possibly have heard her on some of Richard Thompson's solo albums where Gregson-and-Collister did backup work. (Although I do also have a bunch of the Richard-and-Linda albums, as well as his solo stuff and a little bit of Fairport Convention, old and new...)
Apr. 14th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)

Argh, my bad for letting this string out so long timewise!!

Nope, I haven't heard her that I can recall.

Apr. 16th, 2008 10:46 pm (UTC)
More music!
And here's a fresh sampler -- all Hawai'i stuff this time, if you like it I've really only scratched the surface...

Apr. 18th, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
Re: More music!

Arrgh, it doesn't want to download. I think I'll have to try it again sometime during a quieter time of day.

I really appreciate all this!

Mar. 25th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)

Hmmm ... I think Orphaned Land is a little harder-edged than I feel like dealing with these days ... for the past 10 years or so, I have to get in just the right mood even to listen to the louder, angrier works of my beloved Queen (like, say, "Death on Two Legs").

Mar. 25th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
The next time you're in one of those moods where you don't mind a bit of heavier crunch, look through YouTube for clips from Onmyou-za -- they're a Japanese band who do a really interesting fusion of folk melody and heavy rock with occasional operatic elements. (Plus their stagewear is all utterly gorgeous Heian clothing!)
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )


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