Diverse Israeli sounds wow Taiwan audience

09/28/2014 06:37 PM

Taipei, Sept. 28 (CNA) A group of five musicians from Israel's Idan Raichel Project wowed an audience in Taiwan with songs that represented the diverse culture of their home country during their first performance in Taiwan Saturday.

The five gave a 1.5-hour performance to conclude an annual day of music in memory of late Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

While the audience may not have understood the lyrics sung in languages foreign to them, listeners at the Taipei Hakka Cultural Park were nonetheless immersed by vocals presented by lead singers Cabra Casay and Maya Avraham.

Many danced or clapped their hands as the group progressed from songs in Hebrew to music in French, Spanish, Ethiopian and Arabic.

Simona Halperin, Israel's representative in Taiwan, who was present at the concert to show her support, said it was the first time an Israeli group had come to participate in the annual Daniel Pearl Day of Music in Taipei, now in its 13rd year.

"When we remember Daniel Pearl, we celebrate his life and we celebrate the human freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of friendship through music," Halperin said, referring to the American-Israeli journalist who was kidnapped and beheaded by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002.

The Idan Raichel Project, named after its founder, singer-songwriter Idan Raichel, brings together musicians and singers from dozens of countries to produce albums and stage performances that embrace multiculturalism and a message of hope and tolerance.

The project has brought together about 90 musicians aged 16 to over 80, according to Casay, who said that the project offers her an opportunity to show the diversity in Israel.

It showcases "a mixture of all the cultures we have," she said, adding that their songs are not only in Hebrew, but also in other languages such as Ethiopian, French and Arabic.

Israel was built by immigrants who came from Russia, Poland, Yemen, Ethiopia and Iraq, explained Casay, who has been a part of the project for about 12 years.

She said it was an honor to participate in the project's first performance in Taiwan, and having performed around the world, she has learned that "there is nothing like (a) language barrier" anywhere she goes.

"You can always break it" if people enjoy the music, she said.

Audience members Saturday night agreed.

"Their music is very lively and comes from diverse cultures," said Mimi Chen, a Taiwanese fan of music who turned out to the commemorative event.

"I love their music," said Anna Song, another attendee. "It feels great."

The Taipei concert was part of the Idan Raichel Project's first East Asian tour, which will later take the musicians to South Korea and Japan.

Avraham, meanwhile, said that she hopes to convey a message to the audience by traveling and performing: "music connects people."

(By Elaine Hou)ENDITEM/WH

Related:●Sept. 26: Local, foreign bands play at Taipei concert to remember Daniel Pearl (with video)

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