Raichel showed at an early age that there was music in his blood. During his mandatory service for the Israeli army in his late teens, he carried an accordion instead of an AK47 as a member of the Army rock band. He quickly became music director of the group, leading the band’s numerous gigs at military bases throughout the region. It seems that his love of Israeli and Middle Eastern music was cemented during this time, while his interest in Ethiopian music developed during the period following his stint in the army, during which he served as a youth counselor at a boarding school for immigrants in Tel Aviv.
After years of touring as a backup musician, Raichel released his first album, The Idan Raichel Project, in 2002. The album showed his vast creative reach and composition skills, bringing in numerous collaborating guest musicians throughout the album. Despite its being recorded in his parents’ basement, Raichel’s first release went triple platinum in Israel, selling over 120,000 copies. He has since released three other successful and highly ambitious albums, which continue to strengthen his message of love, peace, and tolerance. In his time touring around the globe, Raichel has become known for his cathartic live performances and his incredibly honest, hopeful thoughts about the future of his native Israel. He is a regular supporter of several human rights and anti-war projects in the Middle East, matching up his voice for change with positive action.
In the youthful revolution that has spread throughout Egypt and Libya over recent years, artists and thinkers such as Raichel are igniting the fires in people’s hearts and cleansing the fear from their minds. Raichel’s music has the power of bringing to light the similarities between all people, even history’s longest-standing enemies. With this common ground in mind, people from different viewpoints can begin to understand each other and learn to coexist.