Toxic Exotic

29. April 2017
Mihaela Barac

In a full throttle atmosphere, Vaba Lava was taken over on Thursday evening by exotic rhythms from Israel. Yemen Blues, outrageous from the beginning and traditional to the end, where guilty of this.


“My hair fell out too early” were the first words of vocalist Ravid Kahalani. The start of a beautiful, humorous, vivacious connection with the audience. Their music is clearly more than a combination of the Middle East and the funky blues. It made a fusion of cultural energy and pure, raw, life. There is something of an innocence in the sincerity of emotion and movement, while at the same time bringing out a natural sensuality. This either came from the exotic look they have or the mystical vibe set up by lyrics only in Hebrew. This made it authentic first and foremost, while still completely surprising and wild. Much like a drunk euphoric aristocrat in the middle of the forest. There was enough of this spirit cocktail to wake up the dead.


Some hard rock tunes could be heard in songs with French lyrics like Ton Sourir… to our surprise it sounded calm. It set up a pause, made for us by a nice rhythmic drum/percussion performance by Aviv Cohen and Rony Iwryn. And after everyone was back on stage there was an even more overwhelming energy: “C’mon, move your ass” he shouted and the music of the traditional guitar and his voice kept you moving in ecstasy.  Either all at once or individually, the tools of their spells were made to drive you, teasing us with pleasure.


The cherry on the top, I think was the fact that none of us could understand any of the words in the songs. One doesn’t have to understand, as music speaks for itself.


Yemen Blues (Israel)

22nd April 2017 (9pm)

Vaba Lava (Tallinn)



Ravid Kahalani – vocal, gimbri

Itamar Doari – percussion

Rony Iwryn – percussion

Shanir Blumenkranz – bass, oud

Tomer Bar – keyboard

Aviv Cohen – drums


Check out photos from the concert here