MOLLY GILMORE; Contributing writer • Published October 07, 2011

Opening Doors: India.Arie, Idan Raichel remind people to let in the world’s influences

The world has become a very small place, said Grammy-winning soul singer India.Arie, performing in Olympia this weekend with Israeli singer-songwriter-producer Idan Raichel.

“There’s nothing you can do or say that’s separate from other people any more,” Arie said on her website, “Now you can have the whole world in your laptop. You are part of the world instantaneously.”

Being part of the world instantaneously also is the experience one has when listening to the music of Raichel, whose Idan Raichel Project combines performers from diverse backgrounds into an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of sound.

“We are trying to build bridges between cultures and communities from all over,” Raichel said in a phone interview last week from Tel Aviv. “In creating peace — in a global way, not just in the Middle East — to know about your neighbor and his music is a big part of it.”

That’s true of both the Idan Raichel Project and of his collaboration with Arie, dubbed “Open Door.” Raichel and Arie, who has won four Grammy awards and sold more than 8 million albums, are not only touring together but also are at work on an album.

The duo met when Arie visited Israel two years ago. On her blog at, she calls Raichel a “musical soulmate.”

“The intention of Open Door is to remind people of the oneness of us all, the interconnectedness of all people and all things, the beauty in cultural diversity, mutual acceptance, and love,” Arie wrote. “An open door goes both ways. An open door is being open to let the world’s influences in as well as being open to let yourself out to influence the world. An open door is an open mind.”

“This open door, it will be wide open,” Raichel said.

The two first sang together at a Nobel Peace concert in December in Oslo, Norway. One of their songs is “Gift of Acceptance.” “We can debate till the end of time who’s wrong and who is right, or I can honor your choices and you can honor mine,” Arie sings.

The album will feature songs in both Hebrew and English. Arie doesn’t speak Hebrew but told the Associated Press that Raichel “teaches me the translation.” It will be Arie’s second world-music album, she’s said; the first was 2009’s “Testimony Vol. 2: Love & Politics.”

“I always looked at myself as a world-music artist – even when I was playing coffeehouses in college,” Arie said on her website. “I was always unsatisfied to be filed under urban only.”

India.Arie, Idan Raichel

What: The Grammy-winning soul singer teams up with Israel’s biggest international musician for a tour and upcoming album, both dubbed “Open Door.”


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