When the Idan Raichel Project played to a sold-out crowd of 800 in March at Congregation Rodeph Shalom, they did more than just rock those in attendance with their take on world music. They also set the stage for another big local Israeli musical event.
So says Sharona Durry, the founder and executive director of PhillyIsrael, which organized the Raichel concert. She recalls that right after the concert, David Azulay, of Teev Productions, said he was excited about her organization, and wanted to work with them again. His next superstar to tour? Rami Kleinstein, who, in the world of Israeli music, is definitely a luminary.
His 26-year career as a songwriter and performer has included being part of Israel’s first couple of pop music, when he partnered with his now ex-wife, Rita. His 12-album catalogue has multiple platinum-selling discs. And in the most high-profile example of his mass appeal in Israel, he was one of the judges on the inaugural season of The Voice Israel, a popular musical talent show that premiered this year.
Kleinstein, who has described his style as adult contemporary influenced by Elton John (to whom he is often compared), Bruce Springsteen, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, will be bringing a stripped-down sound to the concert, performing solo on the piano.
“It’s something I really thrive on, being able to put a whole band in my 10 fingers,” he explains. “It’s something not many performers can do. It’s not a question of economy; it’s a question of expressing myself. I love performing with my band, but playing solo is very special for my audience and me.”
The New York-born Kleinstein interacts with the audience in English, but his songs, including those on his latest album, Complicated Situation, are in Hebrew. When asked if that changes the reception he receives from American audiences, he replies, “The experience for them is more to the harmonic side of the scale, and less to the lyrical side. They are more focused on the melody, on the piano playing.
“For Israelis, these songs are part of the soundtrack of their lives,” he continues. “This experience for me is nice in a way — I’m opening a cultural window to Jewish communities across the United States.” u
Rami Kleinstein will perform Oct. 27 at 8:00 p.m. at Main Line Reform Temple. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. To purchase tickets or for more information, go to www.phillyisrael.com  or call 740-538-0704. Prices range from $25 (students and young adults) to $90 (for VIP seats and admission to a pre-concert reception with Kleinstein).