By Aviva Perlman
More than 450 students and community members filled the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Union Ballroom last week for a performance by one of Israel's most popular musicians, Idan Raichel, and his band, The Idan Raichel Project.
The concert, one stop on Raichal's month long U.S. and Canadian tour, was presented by the Hillel Foundation-Milwaukee and the Israel Center of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. Additional sponsors included the university's Black Student Union and Sociocultural Programming Department.
"It was a real partnership between Hillel and the community to really expose the band to Milwaukee," said Heidi Rattner, director of the Hillel Foundation-Milwaukee.
Rattner said the event was very well received at the university. Initially, a crowd of only 350 people were expected to attend. The beginning of the concert was delayed as an additional 100 more chairs were set up.
The Idan Raichel Project comprises Israeli and Ethiopian musicians who perform songs that blend American and Middle Eastern music with the sounds of music of the Ethiopian Jews.
"They are extremely creative and talented musicians," Rattner said.
Idan Raichel burst on to the Israeli music scene in 2002. His debut solo album, "Idan Raichel's Project," shot to No. 1 immediately upon its release and went multiplatinum in Israel alone. During the remainder of its tour, The Idan Raichel Project is scheduled to make several stops at Hillels in California, Seattle, Champaign, Ill., Washington, DC, and Miami.
Aviva Perlman is a junior at American University and an intern in the Hillel communications department.