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Idan Raichel (Hebrew: עידן רייכל‎, b. September 12, 1977) is an Israeli singer-songwriter and a musician, widely acclaimed in Israel for his Idan Raichel Project (Hebrew: הפרוייקט של עידן רייכל), distinctive for its fusion of electronics, traditional Hebrew texts and Ethiopian music. Prior to the Project, Raichel was a keyboardist, collaborating with such artists as Ivri Lider. His sales stand at over 200,000 records in Israel and abroad.

Following his military service, Raichel became a counselor at a boarding school for immigrants and troubled youth. The school was attended by many young Ethiopian Jews, who introduced him to Ethiopian folk and pop music. Whilst many of people in the school rejected their own cultural traditions in an effort to assimilate into mainstream Israeli society, a small core of teenagers remained fans of Ethiopian music, passing around cassettes of songs by Mahmoud Ahmed, Aster Aweke and Gigi. After hearing them, Raichel began to frequent Ethiopian bars and clubs in Tel Aviv.

At the same time, Raichel had become a successful backup musician and recording session player for some of Israel’s most popular singers. After a few years of this he decided it was time to pursue a project that reflected his musical ideals, and began working on a demo recording in a small studio he set up in the basement of his parent’s home in Kfar Saba. He thought it would be a good idea to invite a number of different singers and musicians to participate, in order to better demonstrate his different styles and the ways in which he worked with a variety of artists.

Raichel had long been fascinated with the diversity of Israel and sought to celebrate his appreciation and respect for different cultures through his music. Because of its open door to immigrants from Jewish communities around the globe, Israel is home to a mix of cultures and traditions.

Idan invited over seventy of his friends and colleagues from Israel’s diverse music scene to participate in his recordings. Most of the Israeli labels considered his work too “ethnic” and too outside of the norms of the formulaic Israeli pop scene to have any hope of success but one A&R man, Gadi Gidor at Helicon Records, instantly heard the potential in Idan’s work and quickly signed him on to the roster. The subsequent album was an immediate hit.
 

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