Idan Raichel Returns to UConn, 10/26
The captivating, dreadlocked, Israeli-born Idan Raichel, who blends ancient Hebrew texts with pop, fusion and world music, returns to the Jorgensen stage Saturday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. in a rousing Dance Cabaret. The Idan Raichel Project first came to UConn last February, as guests of UConn Hillel, which will co-sponsor the return engagement. Known for a diverse combination of music, cultures and styles, Raichel is a household name in Israel and beyond, having sold half a million records worldwide.
The Project stops in Storrs before going to New York City and Amherst, Mass., on its first tour since the international release in June of its latest albumQuarter to Six. The album made its debut at No. 1 on the iTunes World Music Chart and has been touted as one of the best albums of the year. It features guest appearances by Portuguese fado star Ana Moura, Palestinian-Israeli singer Mira Awad, German counter-tenor Andreas Scholl, Colombia's Marta Gómez, Vieux Farka Touré and a selection of some of Israel's top up-and-coming singers and musicians.
The Idan Raichel Project burst onto the global music scene in 2003, changing the face of Israeli popular music and offering "a fascinating window into the young, tolerant, multi-ethnic Israel taking shape away from the headlines," The Boston Globe reported.
Raichel's story began as he followed Israeli law that requires men and women to join the army at age 18. But, instead of going to the front lines, the composer keyboardist played in the army's rock band, inviting friends from the Arab community to take the stage with him. Besides Hebrew, he employs lyrics in Arabic, Swahili, Amharic and Spanish with music of Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Middle East.
In 2006, the U.S.-based record label Cumbancha released a compilation of the group's first two albums worldwide. Billboard Magazine called The Idan Raichel Project "one of the most fascinating titles to emerge in world music this year... a multi-ethnic tour de force." The New York Times selected the album as one of the top world music releases of the year, and media from Peru to Portugal agreed. The album also received a nomination as one of the best world music albums of the year by the BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music. In 2010, the Project was honored as the Musical Group of the Decade in Israel.
In the past four years, Raichel has co-written numerous songs and toured with Grammy winner India.Arie, performed at the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony in Oslo, Norway, co-written a song calling for racial harmony with Israeli President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres, performed for President Obama and family at the Kennedy Center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, performed sold out shows at Radio City Music Hall, toured India, South America and Africa and released the highly praised Tel Aviv Session album with Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré. This year, Idan joined pop star Alicia Keys on stage as a special guest during her July concert in Tel Aviv.
Jorgensen's Cabaret was designated "Best Cabaret" in Connecticut Magazine's "Best of Connecticut" issues, 2011-13. Jorgensen was also named Best College/University Performing Arts Center in the Hartford Advocate Best of Hartford Readers' Poll for 2012 and 2013.
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2132 Hillside Road on the UConn campus in Storrs. Doors open at 7 p.m. Sandwiches, dessert, alcohol and other beverages can be purchased before the show (cash only). Or pre-orders can be placed at www.jorgensen.uconn.edu. Ticket prices are $25 floor and $15 mezzanine. For tickets and information, call the Box Office at 860.486.4226, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., or order online atjorgensen.uconn.edu. Convenient, free parking is available across the street in the North Garage.