Something very special happened on the fourth of July this year. It didn’t really have anything to do with rockets red glaring, fireworks, BBQ festivities. It didn’t even happen in America. And yet, if you ponder on it, it did a lot to do with freedom of expression and unity.
After months of being urged to boycott the country, R&B superstar Alicia Keys presented her first concert in Israel, performing in Tel Aviv to an enthusiastic and packed audience. In a statement to the New York Times, she reiterated her plans to perform in Israel, despite public pleas against it from American public figures like poet/activist Alice Walker and Pink Floyd member Roger Waters.
“I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show,” Keys said.
And by all accounts, her appearance in Tel Aviv became a great moment of peace, love and unity, especially as she invited Idan Raichel to join her on stage. One of Israel’s biggest stars and a renowned ambassador of global music worldwide, the crowd responded with wild enthusiasm to Raichel’s appearance, as he took a seat at the piano alongside one of America’s undisputed music superstars. The crowd sang along to every word of Raichel’s popular song “Mima’amakim” (“From the Depths”), much as they did shortly before he entered the stage, while singing emphatically along with Keys massive hit “Fallin.’”
It’s a powerful and beautiful moment of unity that really only art can bring about.
It was a big moment for world music and a big moment for Idan Raichel to be so recognized in his homeland, where he works so tirelessly to bring cultures together through music. We are incredibly proud to be presenting the Idan Raichel Project this October in Royce Hall and hope you will join us.
We’ve been trying to get him back here for almost three seasons now, and with a new album out, titled Quarter to Six, we know he will light up this hall.
We also have a little background scoop from Idan’s camp, on that beautiful moment earlier this month. Apparently, Alicia Keys, who has often been reported to be an incredibly thoughtful artist, went into her first appearance in Israel with the idea that she needed to meet and interact with Israeli artists. She asked around and was introduced to Idan. They hit it off and spent several hours jamming at her hotel in the days before her show. Idan had a gig in Jerusalem the same night as Keys’ Tel Aviv performance, but was able to get a friend to high-tail him across cities on a motorcycle in order to make that unforgettable live-performance cameo happen.
Now please help us make Idan Raichel feel as welcome here in Royce Hall as that entranced Tel Aviv audience did for Alicia Keys.
Hope to see you this fall for some mind-expanding moments of unity through music.