Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Ravid Kahalani: Yemen Blues [Global Lev, 2011]
Singing in many languages you don't understand, including at least one he made up, Yemenite vocalist Kahalani, Jewish and now based in Israel, joins Israeli bassist Omer Avital, Jewish and now based in New York, to create Arab-inflected rhythm music over horns, flute, violin of some kind, and percussion. From falsetto-Afrochant-over-hummed-beat to Middle-Eastern-popsong-with-show-jazz-brass, his music seems ecstatic even before you know his border-crossing backstory. You can hear liberation in the intensity of the ensemble playing, the vocals, and the groove. A-