Sunday, May 26, 2013

In review--Evening Songs from the World

The Idan Raichel Project
Quarter to Six

Israeli peacemaker and musician Idan Raichal returns with his musical collective of emerging and established musicians on his latest release, Quarter to Six.  Signifying the moment before darkness falls (early evening) and based on a quote he overheard, the songs possess a soberness and gravity.  The album includes 16 tracks divided into two sections, Part A and Part B and represeningt various styles from world pop to classical (In a Quiet Night featuring the German counter-tenor Andreas Scholl).

I have mixed feelings about the songs.  On one hand, each of the songs features strong melodies, stunning vocals (especially the guest appearance of Ana Moura on God Knows), and some beautiful acoustic arrangements.  On the other hand, I’m not fond of programming or world pop since my preferences lead towards classical and folkloric music performed on acoustic instruments.  So the bones of the songs please my ears, even if I find some of the songs overproduced.  Raichel composes delicious melodies and he possesses a loving and peaceful heart which comes through in his performances here.

Having said that, I have favorites here--songs which I could play on the repeat mode including, Raichel’s duet with Ana Moura (God Knows or Sabe Deus), Vieux Farka Toure’s endearing acoustic piece, Mon Amour, the first half of In A Quiet Night with the piano playing ostinato to Andreas Scholl’s splendid vocals.  I also enjoy the opener, Evening Falls and felt delighted to hear Colombian vocalist Marta Gomez contribute text and vocals to the song, Behind My Soul.

Quarter to Six works as a collective of diverse musicians coming together in good will to share their talents.  I also encourage Raichel to lean further into the acoustic direction because the acoustic tracks on this album, in my opinion, touch my soul on a deep level while the songs with programming distract me.  Then again, a musician needs to follow his or her own inner guidance.

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