The magic's in the music

Colombian singer Marta Gomez believes understanding lyrics is less important than feeling the soul behind them.

Marta Gomez 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Marta Gomez 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
As the Tel Aviv centenary bandwagon rolls on, the celebratory entertainment spread seems to be leaving practically no cultural stone unturned. Idan Raichel's show at the Suzanne Dellal Center Wednesday evening (9 p.m.), as part of the open-air Big Stage program which also marks the center's 20th anniversary, will reach out beyond our geographical and cultural borders as he performs material from his latest highly successful album, Within My Walls. As usual, Raichel will surround himself with an impressive array of talented musicians, one of the most glittering of whom is Colombian-born singer Marta Gomez; she wrote the lyrics for, and sings, "Todas las Palabras" (All the Words), the opening cut on Within My Walls. Gomez says she is delighted to have the opportunity to perform with Raichel in his own country, after touring much of the world with him in recent years. "Idan is a great artist that I admire so much, and for me, singing with him is an honor for various reasons," she says. "The first one is because I admire him as a person, then, as a musician. It is a nice challenge to sing his music; and then as a Colombian, to be invited by a person from Israel who knows the meaning of war and conflict as well as me, it is a privilege to sing with such an artist." The 30-year-old Gomez has done her own fair share of globe-trotting - and artistic exploration - over the years. At the age of 19, she left Colombia to further her musical skills at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Naturally, she took the opportunity to play gigs around the States, and also to check out different musical areas, including jazz, rock and more ethnically oriented domain. For Gomez, being part of the Idan Raichel Project is more than just a musical experience. "The Project is unique and it is beautiful, but more than that, it is indispensable in a world like ours. We desperately need more artists like Idan, who are committed to actually changing the world. I believe you can do that through projects like this that show tolerance - to one person at a time." Besides her work with Raichel, Gomez also maintains a busy schedule performing with her own band, with which she recently released a new album (Musiquita), and she has over 70 songs and five albums to her name. Gomez has also performed with musicians from different genres, such as blues vocalist Bonnie Raitt, blues-rock-pop guitarist singer John Mayer and iconic Argentinean diva Mercedes Sosa. But, for Gomez, it makes no difference what style she performs in or even the language in which she sings. "That is precisely the power and the magic of music - that you don't need to understand the words, just the heart and the soul of a person. If the person sings with her soul, from her heart, with all honesty, then the audience gets that." The audience at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv will, one presumes, have no difficulty connecting to Gomez and the rest of the Idan Raichel Project gang.