Idan Raichel

Cumbancha Records, 2018


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Formerly the frontman for The Idan Raichel Project for a decade and a half and having famously collaborated with Alicia Keys, international icon Idan Raichel now gifts us 36 tracks on two discs, fleshed out between 2016-2017. Much of the live portions here were recorded during a 17 concert run in Binyamina, Israel, while the studio selections includes new versions of his earlier work and even a couple of unreleased tunes.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Le'hisha'er (To Stay)” begins the live disc with chilling piano work where Raichel's calm vocals don't start until halfway through the six minute track. The following tracks follow a very similar formula, where sophisticated and timeless keys meet vocals that rarely get forceful and are sung in Hebrew. The sound is flawless, and other than the clapping from the audience and occasional audience singing, it seems very much like a studio recording. Additionally, violins, cellos, French horns, and violas assist Raichel in this very intimate and spiritual listen. Occasionally, we are treated to light percussive sounds, too, like on “Achshav Karov (Closer Now)” or the even more elaborate percussion on “Galgal Mistovev (Spinning Wheel).”

The second disc offers us several more live interpretations of his soulful and melodic songcraft, as well as couple new tunes. “Lisloach Ve'Lishkoach (To Forgive And To Forget)” is one of them and one of the best tracks here, as it moves with a haunting, solemn quality with timeless poise. Of the new studio versions of old songs, “Ga'agua (Longing)” is especially emotive, and the orchestral version of “Chaim Pshutim (Simple Life)” is an absolutely sublime moment of inspirational beauty.

Though the running time here is quite lengthy and there's much to absorb, even though I couldn't understand a single word that was sung, Raichel's glorious global sounds of modern classical were enough to keep me interested for the entire duration.

Rating: A-

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