All words by Robb Scott
All photos by
Blink Ofaneye

Not your average R&B/Soul concert, but definitely a soulful experience—India.Arie, along with Israeli artist Idan Raichel, treated audiences with a unique mix of song and introspective discovery. The filled Strathmore Music Hall contained a beautiful diversity; fans of both artists coming together to not only be entertained, but to take away deeper understanding of life and interpersonal relationships.

India Arie

Open Door, Arie’s newest project with Raichel is her most honest work to date—there is a message of peace and love amidst a world that seems to have lost of both facets of humanity. Singing in both English and Hebrew, Arie was an angelic vision; she took to interpretive dancing at many points. Raichel on piano was more than just an accompaniment figure; he too had an aura projecting from him. The two together were a perfect pairing of musical talents. This album has allowed her the freedom to explore themes before considered not industry appropriate, or not market-worthy.

India Arie

Those coming for India.Arie were likely expecting the traditional set-list, a medley of new and old hits. She flipped the script, instead shedding the professional musician veneer, and treated it like a jam session for family and friends. This was a pleasant surprise in every way; considering the intimacy of the Strathmore, seeing her just having fun, being silly, interacting (REALLY interacting) with the audience, just showed how beautiful a soul she truly has.

India Arie

For fans of Idan Raichel, they received the high quality of musicianship he’s known for, as well as a glimpse into the shining personality he has. The man is incredibly accomplished, his merits rival that of many of the larger names Stateside, but he doesn’t carry an ounce of pride or ego—his music speaks for itself; he’s just a man sharing a gift.

India Arie

Each had their own moment aside from the main set-list to explore their solo material. Specifically with Arie, the inclusion of additional musicians provided unique remixes of her tracks “Video” and “Brown Skin.” For Raichel, not having been previously familiar with him, it was obvious the delicacy in which he puts into what he produces—despite singing in Hebrew, translations weren’t necessary, the emotion was enough to add explanation.

India Arie

Notable moments included an impromptu solo from Arie’s mother, an equally as talented vocalist, and highlights of one very talented harmonica player. Raichel and two of his musicians took the mic for a comical imitation of Arie and her back-up singers. At a point, Raichel and Arie performed a song he wrote, but Arie provided the melody to, entitled “Melody for You”—it was described as a prayer for those ready for love, ready for their soulmate to enter their lives. This song touched just about every person in the room, single or not—India.Arie shared vocal moments with her two back-ups as well as Raichel and their bassist.

India Arie

Many souls were fed by the end of the night—Arie and Raichel set out to provide a show that stimulated the eyes, ears, and the heart; they did that and so much more. Open Door, the collaborative work of India.Arie and Idan Raichel is not yet available (Spring 2012 has been the most recent time frame) , however both artists’ material is readily available through iTunes and Spotify.

India Arie

Setlist

  • I Am the One
  • Brother Sister
  • Prayer for Humanity
  • Mai Nahar (River Water)
  • Get Up
  • Just Keep Singing
  • This Wind
  • Lines and Circles
  • Complicated Melody
  • Sixth Avenue
  • Brown Skin
  • Back to the Middle
  • Video
  • Melody for You
  • Im Telech (If You Go)
  • Gift of Acceptance
  • You Are A Star

Encore

  • Ready for Love

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