Madelyn Kumar

Israeli singer-songwriter and global sensation Idan Raichel performed his English and Hebrew singles at Sudler Hall on Tuesday night.

Raichel is known for his global-fusion sound, inspired by traditional Jewish, Arab and Ethiopian music. He has also previously collaborated with American pop stars like Alicia Keys. The show began with a performance by Yale’s Jewish, Israeli and Hebrew a cappella group, Magevet, and continued with Raichel’s hour-long performance.

“I recently started performing outside of Israel since performing arts centers started inviting me to display world music,” Raichel told the News. “I’m very lucky to be able to spread the word as a world music artist. I want to spread the music and the messages of the song, and to meet new audiences. It’s the natural way of prosperity and expanding yourself.”

Raichel’s Hebrew songs were often interspersed with English lyrics. He told the News that he spoke only Hebrew until he was 24, at which point he began speaking English since he knew he would have to conduct interviews in the language.

He added that one of the main challenges he has faced is capturing “the ears and hearts” of his audience with English lyrics.

“I feel that world music artists are always writing the soundtrack of the places they are coming from,” Raichel said. “It’s the essence of who you are. It’s important for world music artists to sing in their native tongue or the language they grew up speaking. You might not get the lyrics, but you get the vibe.”

During the concert, Raichel frequently conversed with his audience, emphasizing his love for a “living room vibe.” He said he often invites people to sit in his living room while he plays his music, and wishes to recreate that atmosphere during his concerts, as well.

Raichel said he focuses on fostering an intimate environment, even at venues with 2,000 seats. Despite his love for music and performing, Raichel also stressed the importance of taking time out of his busy schedule to spend time with his family.

“I went on this tour after nine months of being off the road,” Raichel told the audience. “I decided to take the time off when I was on tour for three months and my daughter called me and said, ‘Papa, are you angry with me?’ I said no. She said, ‘Then why are you not coming home?’ I then realized it’s too much for them. Then I thought I should take this time off.”

Joelle Wilshinsky, a member of the New Haven community who attended the event, said she was interested in the event because she was unfamiliar with Raichel’s solo material and had listened only to music from the Idan Raichel Project — a collection of songs recorded by Raichel in collaboration with a variety of artists.

Wilshinsky said she saw many familiar faces from New Haven’s Jewish and Israeli community at the concert.

Ali Futter ’19, who also attended the event, said Raichel appeared to be multi-talented. She added she was surprised to see him use a looper pedal, a musical device that allows a single player to record snippets of music within a given space of time to be played back with the tap of a foot.

“I liked the emphasis that this is a sort of living room atmosphere,” attendee Miriam Ross ’21 said. “Making conversation with the audience, making little jokes, using a xylophone in a performance because it’s something his daughter likes to play with. I just really enjoyed those touches.”

Raichel plans to release new singles in 2018.

Jever Mariwala |