SCHENECTADY–Shaped by his origins as a Yemeni Jew, Yemen Blues founder Ravid Kahalani and his band will cap a summer season at the Music Haven Concert Series at the Agnes Macdonald Music Haven Stage on Sunday, Aug. 13. The 7 p.m. concert will feature the band’s jazz tonalities, which also crosses into funk and rings out as an ode to African grooves and as a modern echo of the ancient rhythms, according to organizers.
Kahalani, who the National Geographic dubbed “ridiculously charismatic,” calls Yemen a spiritual home, but he was raised in Israel, where he founded the group in 2010.
“I grew up in the culture,” he has said noting his family’s deep ties in Yemen. “(I grew up) with that way of singing, that way of eating, that way of speaking. ”
Kahalani was raised singing the Yemenite chants and prayers vocalized by his religious father. When he was a teen, he he heard blues singers Blind Willie Johnson, Big Mama Thornton and Lead Belly. Then, a friend played him music from West and North Africa.”
Kahalani, who plays the guembri, a twangy, three-stringed instrument made partly of camel skin, told the New York Daily News, “I fell in love with it. It hit me right away-the clear connection between blues and Africa, and all this Arabic music. The whole thing came together for me as one thing. Blues is a very big and general word. But what it describes isn’t a scale or a way of singing. It’s a feeling.”
Other band members are Rony Iwryn, percussion; Shanir Blumenkranz, bass and oud; Brian Marsela, keys; and Ofri Nehemya, drums.
Ahmed Alshaiba, a special guest at the concert, will also demonstrate of the music of the oud.
Information maybe obtained from the www.musichavenstage.org.
Rain site the outdoors concert is Proctors in downtown Schenectady.