Idan Raichel: And If You Will Come to Me

Song of Songs

Listening Post 195. Idan Raichel reshaped Israel’s music landscape, integrating Middle Eastern, Ethiopian and Latin sounds and taking his band, The Idan Raichel Project, onto the world stage. He has notably performed at a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington and with Palestinian singer-qanun player Ali Amr in New York. Raichel has written more than 100 songs—or perhaps every composition is part of a single, continuous song-scroll. In interviews promoting his exquisite ninth album, And if You Will Come to Me (ואם תבואי אליי), he observes that there are few original stories left to tell, just new interpretations of existing tales, and in blending tradition and modernity, lush mixtures with dulcet melodies and psalmic Hebrew lyrics, he seems to traverse time and space with one eye on the journey and the other on home. This time around he again sings—solo and in duets—of love and wisdom, longing and belonging. He shares Ahava Ka’zo (A Love Like This) with Zehava Ben, who helped take Mizrahi music mainstream in Israel and built an Egyptian fan base by recording the songs of Umm Kulthum (video 1). With Beresheet (In The Beginning) Raichel uses an Indian-Middle Eastern soundscape in reimagining the Book of Genesis, conceiving inchoate love rather than chaos as the precursor to creation (video 2). His signature band returns to its source with Ketero (Let’s Meet), a roots journey led by Ethiopian-Israeli vocalist Yahalom David in Amharic (video 3). There’s a desert rock spirit to Imidiwanine (My Friends), a reconciliation plea sung in Tamasheq by Nigerien singer-songwriter Bombino (video 4); and an ecclesiastical turn, backed by Japanese and Bulgarian strings, to Galgal Mistovev (Spinning Wheel, video 5). Living in a region and world short on understanding, Raichel uses music to build bridges and add new chapters to his song of songs. (Cumbancha/Helicon)

Note: For the review of Idan Raichel’s previous album, Raichel ·Piano ·Songssee Listening Post 125, November 20, 2017.
https://worldlisteningpost.com/2017/11/20/idan-raichel-piano-•-songs/

Ahava Ka’zo/A Love Like This/אהבה כזו
feat. Zahava Ben
Lyrics and Music: Idan Raichel

(from the Hebrew lyrics)
A love like this can’t be found anymore
Secrets stored in my heart for years/Pictures between silence and words

A broken heart turns into songs/Silence turns into a melody

A love like this can’t be seen anymore
Walking slowly and holding hands/Along the path everyone passes by
Collecting pieces, fragments of life/Tears turn into words and melody

As the moon gets fuller and smaller/
So you come closer and walk away

But my heart goes out to you/
And again you flee, and again return

Not a day will pass without me thinking of you

 

Beresheet/In The Beginning/בראשית
Lyrics & Music: Idan Raichel
Video sand art: Ilana Yahav

(from the Hebrew lyrics)
In the beginning there was love/

It waited for fertile soil as it would wait for water
It waited for the sun, for the sun setting into the sea/And to a wave of longing

Waited

In the beginning there was love/
And it waited until it would have the heavens
To look up to the stars/
And it waited for Adam and Eve

Someone is waiting for you at home/Nearby
Maybe around some corner/
A place you will call home
That when you go inside it will become yours

In the beginning there was love/
And it waited until it would find some rest

And it waited for children in the courtyard/And for a tree to climb and to rest in its shade
In the beginning there was love/
And after it, sorrow was created

And the tears and the broken heart/
And after them came consolation

 

Ketero/Let’s Meet/ቀጠሮ
feat. The Idan Raichel Project
Lyrics: Abebe Melese/Music: Idan Raichel

(from the Amharic lyrics)
Ethiopia my country, my identity
/
Let me take you by the hand to Ethiopia

When it’s September in Ethiopia the flowers blossom/Let’s go together to Addis Ababa

Let me show you a beautiful country/
Let me take you to my place – Gondar

September is the time to celebrate/
Let’s go together to Addis Ababa through Bole

Our love is strong/
So when we are not together

It’s like climbing a mountain and coming back down

Ethiopia my country, my identity/
Let me take you by the hand to Ethiopia

When it’s September in Ethiopia the flowers blossom/Let’s go together to Addis Ababa

At night you see the stars/
Let’s raise our glasses and say cheers, like in Jerusalem
Your heart is linked to my heart/
Pounding like a drum, come on and let’s meet

 

Imidiwanine/My Friends/~[~V~: I I~I
feat. Bombino
Lyrics: Omara “Bombino” Moctar/Music: Idan Raichel

(from the Tamasheq lyrics)
My friends/My friends, my friends
I exhort you to get up/To prove your love
The true love/
My friends

My friends, my friends/
I exhort you to forgive each other
To stop hating each other/
My friends

My friends, my friends/I urge you to stand up
And look for the causes/Of collective misfortunes

You know/
This life is too short
You know/
This life is too short
My friends

 

Galgal Mistovev/Spinning Wheel/גלגל מסתובב
Lyrics and Music: Idan Raichel

(from the Hebrew lyrics)
If anything, then to fall hard after you tried/And if anything, then to know that you gave it your all
If not to know, then to keep asking

If anything, then with all your strength in the face of this world/If anything, then along routes that only you will navigate
Because answers will be waiting along those paths

Don’t forget, everything is like a spinning wheel/
For everyone that goes up, there is one that comes down
Don’t look back, keep going, don’t stop/
Maybe you’ll meet someone, you will want to give her everything
You’ll find answers in her, she’ll know all the secrets/
And when you walk together time will stop

If you are leaving anyway, leave it all behind/
And know that when you come back, everything will have changed
And now is the time, so you’re not waiting any longer

If anything, then with all your strength in the face of this world/If anything, then to know that you gave it your all

If not to know, then to keep asking

 


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