Fri 31 Oct
The Merkavah 09 group had just about assembled in the hotel in Jerusalem. The bulk of the party had just arrived from Buenos Aires, doubtless in even more need of showers, food and rest than the rest of us, who had got there a bit earlier. However - no such luck - this is Merkavah! We were ushered into the bus and whisked back along the road to Tel Aviv, past the airport which most of us had not long since arrived at, and on to the Israeli Air Force Theatre in Herzliya.
In what turned out to be the first of many inspired changes of schedule, we were on our way to see a concert by the Idan Raichel Project - much better for our souls than a shower, food or a rest; they could all wait, our souls needed immediate attention.
Idan Raichel has gathered together a group of musicians and singers who between them represent many of the communities who live in Israel. They play in a wide range of styles, and sing in more languages than any of us could name. The are currently amongst the leading lights of Israel's popular music scene, and many of the audience were singing along to many of the songs, and not just in Hebrew, but also in Arabic and what I took to be Amharic, the language of the Ethiopian Jews, as well as French and Spanish.
Pablo and Frida were ahead of the game, as usual, and had incorporated several of Raichel's songs into their dance programme. Todas las Palabras in particular was a firm favourite:
The song was written by Colombian singer Marta Gómez, who sings it on the record (and in this videoclip); in the concert that we saw, it was performed by Ethiopian singer Cabra Kasai (see this short concert clip).
Here's a stunning, passionate song sung in Hebrew, Arabic and Amharic (I think, but I could be wrong on all three) from a concert in Leuven (Belgium) just 4 weeks before we saw them:
I'll try to check which song it is - but I may have to go through all the CDs to find it . . .