If you enjoyed this Yemen Blues interview and would like to stay up to date with the band and their music, visit their official homepage. They are also on Facebook. Ravid Kahalani also has an Instagram account.Name: Yemen Blues
Members: Ravid Kahalani (vocals, gumbri), Shanir Blumenkranz (bass, oud), Rony Iwryn (percussion), Dan Mayo (drums)
Interviewee: Ravid Kahalani
Nationality: Israeli (Ravid)
Current release: The latest Yemen Blues album Shabazi – A Tribute to the Poet is out now.
Recommendations: PRINCE – “The Truth”; MARY LOU WILLIAMS – “St Martin de Porres”
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you’re listening? Do you listen with your eyes open or closed?
I listen to learn. But mostly I try to listen to the music that comes from inside.
What were your very first steps in music like and how would you rate the gains made through experience – can one train/learn being an artist?
First steps were singing melodies with my voice.
Either you born an artist or not.
According to scientific studies, we make our deepest and most incisive musical experiences between the ages of 13-16. What did music mean to you at that age and what’s changed since then?
Nothing changed in terms of the side of loving it and living it. Everything changed in terms of understanding it.
There are no rules when and how creation comes. It’s from god.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and what motivates you to create?
Beauty in many forms drives me to create.
The key is to keep believing in love.
To quote a question by the great Bruce Duffie: When you come up with a musical idea, have you created the idea or have you discovered the idea?
Many answers to that. I guess we will never know.
And I think it doesn’t really matter. If something beautiful came out of me it doesn’t matter if I discovered it or created it. I don’t do it for the credit or for the science of it.
Paul Simon said “the way that I listen to my own records is not for the chords or the lyrics – my first impression is of the overall sound.” What’s your own take on that and how would you define your personal sound?
I like music that feels authentic, not by culture, but by how much the music feels natural.
But I can probably miss things if I don’t know the story behind it.
“If something beautiful came out of me it doesn’t matter if I discovered it or created it. I don’t do it for the credit or for the science of it.”
Sound, song, and rhythm are all around us, from animal noises to the waves of the ocean. What, if any, are some of the most moving experiences you’ve had with these non-human-made sounds? In how far would you describe them as “musical”?
We are created and developed as human being from those living sounds. I don’t think we can live without them.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of one of your pieces, live performances or albums that’s particularly dear to you, please?
In some of the songs, I get very emotional about something and feel this special sensitivity towards a moment of beauty whichever it is, from a smile to a life story and naturally have a melody or lyrics come out with it.
You just got to catch this moment and be open to it.
Do you conduct “experiments” or make use of scientific insights when you’re making music?
I just try to be truthful and fun when I write music. But whatever it is – it must groove.
How does the way you make music reflect the way you live your life? Can we learn lessons about life by understanding music on a deeper level?
Just let music be you and you be music. There is no effect. It is all.
Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn’t or wouldn’t in more ‘mundane’ tasks?
I express the music. A cup of coffee can sometimes help you write a song, but it has nothing to do with music. This would be compering things that are not the same.
Every time I listen to “Albedo 0.39” by Vangelis, I choke up. But the lyrics are made up of nothing but numbers and values. Do you, too, have a song or piece of music that affects you in a way that you can’t explain?
I have and I will. But it is never same moment in the music or same feeling in me.
If you could make a wish for the future – what are developments in music you would like to see and hear?
I can only hope for myself to make people enjoy and understand life better and nicer through music.
Yemen Blues Interview Image by Zohar Shitri