22 January 2015 (released)
22 December 2015
A few years ago I heard the Toure-Raichel Collective featuring Mali’s Vieux Farka Toure and Idan Raichel, still one of the most often listened to albums in my collection.
Looking more deeply into the origins I found the Idan Raichel Project led by a world superstar who happens to an Israeli icon and whose various projects have included collaborations with Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews, Andreas Scholl, India.arie and others but who hasn’t made an album under his own name alone for a while.
He describes it by saying “Sometimes you need to return to the simpler things in life”.
He has even shaved off his trademark uncut hair to symbolise the new start to his music and says "This album has been a way for me to find myself, to come to terms with the fact that I am now part of a close family," notes Raichel. "I'm not here for just myself anymore; I'm here for my daughters."
It certainly is a return to music that seems to come from somewhere deep within him. There is no sense of trying to accomplish something with another style or musician and equally a very real sense of him returning to styles and forms that he has developed from. Generally, the resulting music is enveloping and draws you deep into his playing.
From the beginning his piano playing is studied and emotional with strings imposing the sense of reverie and study. The songs themselves have the feel of prayer, of a call to a greater being and his vocals are plain, intense and quietly beautiful.
It does feel as though he has incorporated many of his racial memories in the album and there are moments of Kletzmer as well as classical and jazz but it most clearly speaks of modern music and themes.
I found it a quietly satisfying album, one worth revisiting time after time and finding the same inner peace that he seems to be aiming for and even when he ‘rocks out’ on a track such as ‘Ma’agalim’ his voice still carries stillness and a place of rest.