University of Haifa International School Student Blog
A few weeks ago, we featured a post about ways to support International Student Ariel Hirsch in a singing contest she competed in. This week, we congratulate Ariel for landing a summer internship with the Idan Raichel Project, one of the coolest musical groups in Israel. Here’s a post from Ariel’s new blog, Summer Backstage 2011, which features a behind-the-scenes look at the Idan Raichel Project:
Imagine you’re dreaming.
In your dream, you are sitting with members of one of the most talented music groups in the world; a group that, through the creative vision of one soft-spoken, dreadlocked artist and the seemingly infinite abilities of his diverse mix of musicians, has managed to bring together a world of cultures, ideas, histories, heritages, languages and voices onto a single stage—often in a single, heartfelt song.
Imagine that in your dream, you and these world-renowned artists are seated in a small Tel Aviv restaurant near that afternoon’s concert venue. You are all eating kuba (a traditional Middle Eastern meat dish), five people—later six—at a table meant for four. Everyone’s friendly and curious about what brings you to lunch that day, at what stage you find yourself in life, whether or not you’re enjoying your kuba (yes, you are); it feels like you belong there.
Now imagine you’re not dreaming.
My name is Ariel, and that was the beginning of my Thursday afternoon.
I can honestly say that this was probably the best day-before-birthday present ever, though it wasn’t intended as such. on Friday I turned the big 2-1 (though let’s face it: that number is not quite as exciting here in Israel as it is at home in the U.S.), and Thursday was my official introduction to what lies ahead in the month-and-a-bit to come: I am the Idan Raichel Project’s newest summer intern, driven by the dual motivation of an intense love of and respect for the Project’s music, and a personal desire to shed some light on where my own future will take me. Do I want to someday work in the music industry? I hope that my experiences over the next month or so will help me decide.
Now, back to the dream-turned-reality:
After our kuba, Yossi (producer, and my mentor), Shalom (strings), Eyal (wind) and I walked back to the Duhl Center to wait for the singers to arrive for the final sound check; Gilad (drums) and Ziv (bass) stopped at another restaurant to eat a second lunch. I met the guys from the sound company, YedaKol (which means “knowledge of voice/sound,” but is likely a play on the phrase “Yodea Hakol,” i.e. “knows everything”), was introduced to Avi, the first singer to arrive on the scene, and then went inside to take my seat stage left while the last few things were put in order. The Project was to be the final performance at a special military event honoring Ethiopian soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.
Idan (Idan), Maya and Cabra (singers) arrived about twenty minutes before the show was set to begin. I won’t lie to you: I was not quite prepared when one of my favorite musicians strolled through the black curtain a few feet to the right of my chair. Of course, I knew it was bound to happen eventually; I was there to enjoy and learn about his work, after all. But the unintended aesthetics of it all—the tall, dark man wearing clothes and turban the colors of charcoal, his long dreadlocks hanging down his back, pushes aside the black curtain separating backstage from front, and steps onto the stage and into the light—was rather perfect in its contrast. After Idan’s sound check I was briefly introduced (?עידן: היי, מה המצב? אריאל: בסדר, תודה. מה המצב—which roughly translates to, “Idan: Hi, what’s up? Ariel: Everything’s fine, thanks. What’s up?” Not my most impressive, I’ll admit; but better simple than embarrassing ), before the group had to make their final preparations for the performance.
When the time came, they walked onstage and did their thing like they were born for this. Which they were, in a sense: as one soldier who sat backstage with me during the show stated confidently, when it comes to music, “either you have it or you don’t.”
The Idan Raichel Project has it, my friends.
It’s in the way that they so clearly enjoy being on that stage; it’s impossible not to want to jump out of your seat and dance and sway to their music.
It was a little cramped, I’ll admit, but the dancing and swaying definitely happened .