New democracies may emerge from the ashes of dictatorships in several countries. But even before that, something wonderful has emerged from Yemen. Or Israel, depending on how you count the heritage of Ravid Kalahani. His new album Yemen Blues is a fantastic blend of North African folk, funk, jazz, and various languages to go along with the varied musical styles.
Though they're from different sides of the Red Sea, Kalahani may be the successor to Ali Hassan Kuban, whose funky Nubian wedding music illuminates a little-recognized segment of world music. Just check out the track "Jat Mahibati," on which Itamar Borochov's trumpet bubbles through melodies just like famed Egyptian horn player Samy El Bably.
From the feisty dance tunes to the somber "Trape La Verite" (well, it sounds somber, though I have no idea what the lyrics are on about), this is a fantastic album that I'm confident will find a spot on SoundRoots' annual top 10 list, though the year has just begun. Don't miss it; and watch for the Yemen Blues tour in February and March.
Kalahani's Facebook says the CD will soon be available in the US (and he'll have copies at the shows), though I can't find it on any e-stores at present.
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