Yemen Blues ft. Ravid Kahalani

Shaped by his origins as a Yemeni Jew, the fascinating voice of Ravid Kahalani brilliantly evokes the musical universe of his ancestors. Stretching like a slow caravan crossing the desert, it winds through West African blues and the thousand and one vibrations of the Sahara, Nubian, Gnawi, Touaregs, Saidi, and Bambara.This luscious mix of jazz tonalities, which also crosses into funk, rings out as an ode to African grooves and a modern echo of the ancestral rhythms. Kahalani’s voice creates a canvas printed both with deep emotions – when his rasping laments tear open the heavens – and with popular jubilation when the accompanying percussion, oud, cello, and brass instruments erupt in a dance that is complex and resolutely modern. A joyful oasis in the middle of the desert …

Conceived from Kahalani’s vision, Yemen Blues mixes music of Yemen and West Africa with contemporary grooves, from funk to mambo, and the deep soul of old chants. Conjuring up a rich and diverse aural palette with the use of percussion, oud, horns, and strings, Yemen Blues coexists in both the past and present, at once timeless and modern. The collective is a true collaboration between top master musicians, its core including Kahalani, Omer Avital, Itamar Doari, Rony Iwryn, and Itamar Borochov.

Yemen Blues’s myriad influences carry over on stage, where the ensemble navigates from the boisterous to the romantic, from joyous celebration to anguished balladry. Horns fire off emphatically, percussion adds deep rhythmic textures, and the enchanting oud strums out subtle melodies. Frankly, this band is one of the most gripping and fun live ensembles in contemporary music today.