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MDC Live Arts Presents the Soulful Debut of Yemen Blues in Miami

Yemen Blues 1

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

Miami, October 17, 2012 -

International music sensation Yemen Blues will dazzle Miami audiences for the first time with an eclectic brew of West African grooves, American jazz, blues, and funk, presented by Miami Dade College’s (MDC) MDC Live Arts series,  one night only at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, at Grand Central in Downtown Miami.   

This nine-piece Israeli-American group has recently 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 singing Yemenite chants at synagogue, he would also make up songs in invented languages. As a young teen he left home and discovered a world of other sounds, including soul, blues and West African pop. He spent hours alone listening to music, absorbing everything, searching for resonance in Delta blues voices that reminded him of his own Yemenite heritage

He sings about his love for the desert, the unity of language and experience, about gratitude for life’s gifts. Songs like “Baraca” and “Min Kalbi” exclaim, “Your language is my language.”

“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. Top musicians from around the world are taking notice as well. 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.

MDC Live Arts is an initiative of MDC’s Cultural Affairs Department, created in 1990 as Cultura del Lobo. MDC Live Arts continues a long legacy of bringing unique, diverse performances from around the world to South Florida.  The mission is to present the newest, most challenging contemporary and culturally specific work being created in the U.S. and abroad, with an emphasis on the Americas, and to present work that is reflective of our multi-ethnic community. Our series brings exceptional national and international performing artists to the region and provides opportunities for extensive community engagement through residency activities within the eight-campus college system, and through partnerships with other local arts providers.


MDC Live Arts Presents Yemen Blues

  • WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 10, 9:00 PM - 11:00 PM
  • WHERE: Grand Central 697 N. Miami Ave., Downtown Miami

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 about the 2012-13 MDC Live Arts season, please call 305-237-3010, or visit   


Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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