MDC Live Arts presents Yemen Blues’ debut in Miami

Arts / Article

By Sue Arrowsmith, Miami Dade College

International music sensation Yemen Blues will dazzle Miami audiences with an eclectic brew of West African grooves, American jazz, blues, and funk one night only at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., downtown Miami. This special performance is presented by Miami Dade College’s MDC Live Arts series.

The nine-piece Israeli-American group has taken the international music scene by storm. Conceived from vocalist Ravid Kahalani’s vision, Yemen Blues combines music of Yemen, located on the Arabian Peninsula, and West Africa with contemporary grooves from funk to mambo and the deep soul of traditional chants. Conjuring up a rich and diverse aural palette with the use of percussion, oud, horns, and string instruments, the group coexists both in the past and the present, at once timeless and modern.

Kahalani creates what he calls “moments of soul” for audiences, swooping from clear falsetto into a gravelly baritone, switching from Yemenite Arabic to Hebrew to Haitian Creole. Growing up, he sang Yemenite chants at synagogue. As a young teen, he left home and discovered a world of other sounds, absorbing everything, searching for resonance in Delta blues voices that reminded him of his own Yemenite heritage

“It doesn’t matter to which god you pray, so long as the melody comes from heart. This is exactly what I want to sing all the time, what I want to give people when I sing,” Kahalani said.

Yemen Blues has performed extensively for audiences across the globe. In addition, Kahalani’s unmistakable voice was featured on Matisyahu’s upcoming record, Spark Seeker. Yemen Blues plans to release a new record in the second quarter of 2013.

As part of MDC Live Arts’ core commitment to create meaningful educational experiences, Kahalani will give two lecture/demonstrations on Friday, Nov. 9.  He will visit elementary school students at the Lehrman Community Day School as well as students at MDC’s North Campus.

International artists Yemen Blues will perform in Miami at Grand Central on Nov. 10

Tickets are $20 in advance / $25 at the door for the general public; and $10 for MDC students, who must show valid identification. To purchase tickets, and more information, please call 305-237-3010, or visit