Sounds of Summer

By Jacob Victor

Published June 20, 2007, issue of June 22, 2007.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli music has come a long way since the European-style folk songs and ballads that still make our grandparents dance. As Israeli society has integrated new ethnic groups and cultures, Israeli music has evolved into an eclectic combination of many different genres. No group better reflects this melting pot than the Idan Raichel Project, which performed last Sunday at New York’s SummerStage, in Central Park.

The Idan Raichel Project combines a diverse mix of folk and reggae with Ethiopian, Yemenite and Arab musical traditions, and performs songs in Amharic, Hebrew and Arabic, among other languages, with lyrics often derived from Jewish scripture. The group, which has released two Israeli and one international album, is the creation of Israeli musician Idan Raichel, who started it in 2002. Raichel, 29, sought to bring together a varied group of musicians of European, Sephardic, Ethiopian and Arab descent to showcase the diverse culture of Israel.

Sunday’s performance featured Cabra Kasai, Lital Gabai and Vograss Avi Vesa on vocals; Shalom Mor on acoustic guitar, tar and oud; Golan Zuskovitch on bass guitar; Roni Irwin on percussion; Haran Shabi on drums, and Raichel on vocals and keyboard. The group played many of its most well-known songs, including “Im Telech” and “Mi’Ma’amakim.”

The Idan Raichel Project’s production and tour manager for the United States, David Azulay, described SummerStage as the group’s “biggest venue ever in America.” The concert, which was free and open to the public, was filled to its capacity of around 5,000 people. There were also several thousand people waiting outside, according to City Parks Foundation.

Azulay said that Raichel viewed the concert as a great success. For him, it was “all about world music and harmony, true music and culture.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.