Thursday, November 12, 2009

Soul Music

The tall, dark man moved across the stage in an agitated like manner, jerking his body in different directions, formulating a pleasant yet violent dance. His voice was majestic, full of soul and emotion as he sang his original songs in his native language, an Arab dialect spoken in Yemen. His voice carried us elsewhere, far away to a nation so different from America. The strength with which he held himself, proudly singing sitting down and then slowly standing up as he struck a higher note was inspiring. Idan Raichel and friends are a sight to be seen, their music is a compilation of the work of 85 talented musicians from all over the world originating in Israel. The small, cozy, state of the art auditorium gave way to exceptional acoustics and soul ("neshama"). As a special guest, the famous India Arie performed a song in Hebrew, just one of the many languages sung that evening. It didn't matter what they sang and what language it was in, the vocalists were so into the words that the audience understood their meaning. After two full hours, we were finally swept away as the ensemble performed three upbeat songs in their encore. Everyone was on their feet, vigorously clapping and absorbing the energy of the music. Praying for it not to end, we clapped and jumped more and more knowing it would be a while until we felt this way again. Israeli music has a way of doing that to me and every concert is a cause for celebration. As I closed my eyes, taking in the rhythm, I imagined the shores, the warmth, the smiles, the sincerity, the bliss, the homeland.

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