In 2003, an unusual song began airing on Israeli’s popular radio stations. With its haunting chorus in the Ethiopian language of Amharic and an exotic, global fusion sound “Bo’ee” became an instant crossover hit that catapulted The Idan Raichel Project to the top of Israel pop charts and turned a young dreadlocked keyboardist and producer into a household name in his native land. Soon, The Idan Raichel Project would become known around the world for its ambitious cross-cultural collaborations that changed the face of Israeli popular music and offered “a fascinating window into the young, tolerant, multi-ethnic Israel taking shape away from the headlines” (Boston Globe). Since the release of their first international album on Cumbancha in the fall 2006 The Idan Raichel Project has become a global ambassador representing a hopeful world in which artistic collaboration breaks down barriers between people of different backgrounds and beliefs.
Idan Raichel, the architect of this unique project, is a keyboardist, producer and composer from Kfar Saba, a city near Tel Aviv. Idan was born in 1977 to a family with Eastern European roots, and although music was an important part of his upbringing, his parents did not place much emphasis on performing music from his particular cultural background. “I think the fact that I didn’t have strong family musical roots is what made me be very open to music from all over the world,” says Idan. Idan started playing the accordion (which he likes to call “the uncoolest instrument ever”) when he was 9 years old, and even at this young age was attracted to the exotic sounds of Gypsy music and tango.