Yemen Blues – Feb 26, 2011
Ashkenaz presents the premiere Toronto performance of YEMEN BLUES, the most exciting new World music act out of Israel. With its explosive, 21st century brew of Yemenite-Jewish song and poetry, West African grooves and American jazz, blues and funk, the nine-piece ensemble creates a breathtaking musical experience, brimming with innovation, celebration and virtuosity.
“Yemen Blues is THE discovery of the year“ (WDR Funkhaus Europa, Germany)
YEMEN BLUES was founded by Ravid Kahalani, lead vocalist with the popular Idan Raichel Project and a rising star in Israel. Hailing from Kohlan near Sanaa district in Yemen, Kahalani is heir to the distinguished musical legacy of the Yemenite-Jewish world in which he was raised. His family was well-known over generations for its musical prodigies, including the singer and cantor Zacharia Yitzhak. During his adolescence Kahalani did all he could to escape his own musical roots, exploring a kaleidoscopic range of styles, including African-American blues, jazz, and soul, classical opera, Serbian orthodox church music, Saharan and North African chant, electronic music, and much more. Over the last decade Kahalani has worked to bring all these influences together with his own heritage, creating the ultimate realization of his own musical journey. Teaming with virtuoso bassist and oud player Omer Avital (founder of the successful “Third World Love” Jazz group), and enlisting an all-star supporting cast of musicians from New York, Israel and Uruguay, Kahalani’s powerful voice and persona catalyzes YEMEN BLUES concerts into ecstatic celebrations, often erupting into dance-fueled frenzies.
YEMEN BLUES is “a language you will understand no matter where you come from”, says Kahalani. “It is my origin and my influences all together as well as meeting with this group of amazing musicians.”