DC Welcomes New Cultural Institute for Yemen with Oct. 25th Concert

10 October, 2019


Many of us have been shocked by the destruction rained down on Yemen that has affected in particular the children of Yemen. The United Nations suggests that Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen has caused one of the worst humanitarian disasters on record. And just a few days ago, the Guardian reported that at least 712 religious sites and 206 ancient archeological sites have been affected or destroyed since the Yemen war broke out in 2015. Now, a new cultural center in the nation’s capital announces its arrival with a concert designed to celebrate Yemeni heritage.

The Yemen Cultural Institute for Heritage and the Arts (YCIHA) announces its launch on Oct. 25, 2019, when it presents “Vibrations from Yemen: Traditional and New Sounds” featuring renowned artists Ravid Kahalani of Yemen Blues and oud master Ahmed Al-Shaiba. The event, hosted at the Eaton Workshop, will feature traditional Yemeni beats and highlight modern eclectic interpretations of Yemeni chants and instruments. The evening proposes an interfaith performance dedicated to peace featuring Kahalani, an artist of Yemeni Jewish descent who blends western African and funk beats, performing alongside Al-Shaiba, a self-taught Yemen-born artist based in New York. The program aims to introduce distinct ancient and urban Yemeni sounds to the west and is an instrument of musical preservation of Yemen’s culture, which is actively under threat. YCIHA is proud to present an interfaith event committed to peace and to sharing a collective heritage that transcends nationality or religious identity.

What: Vibrations of Yemen: Traditional and New Sounds
What: Interfaith concert launching the Yemen Cultural Institute for Heritage and the Arts
When: Fri, Oct. 25, 2019, 7-9 pm
Where: Eaton Workshop at the Eaton Hotel,1201 K St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Tickets: $30-$40, Tickets can be found here or on our website, info 703-982-0339
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2398189967071075/

YCIHA began with a group of activists and academics concerned with the status of Yemen’s heritage during wartime. Since its launch, the institute clarified that its mission is rooted in peace and cultural exchange. After years of organizing, YCIHA registered as a nonprofit in 2019. The event on Oct. 25th will be its first significant event in the district.

Cofounded by Yemen expert Sama’a El-Hamdani, the Yemen Cultural Institute is committed to the promotion and protection of Yemen’s arts, both ancient and modern. The institute intends to provide a platform that will highlight diverse Yemeni artistic expression with the mission to promote peace for Yemen and throughout the region. YCIHA seeks to engage caretakers, scholars, researchers, artists, archeologists, diplomats, and journalists in its work. It promotes the safekeeping of Yemeni cultural relics, archeological sites, and historical artifacts and champions the protection and preservation of Yemen’s ancient artifacts. YCIHA will also seek to document the historical and cultural heritage of Yemen through innovative technologies, digitization, and traditional archiving. Plans are afoot to sponsor a cultural heritage youth leadership program that identifies, supports, and connects promising Yemeni artistic talents.

Ravid Kahalani is a composer, lyricist, vocalist, and percussionist who founded the internationally celebrated ensemble Yemen Blues, a combination of renowned musicians, in 2010 in Tel Aviv. From the start, Ravid created an original sound that combines traditional Yemeni chants with West African beats, funk music, and blues. Ravid comes from a Yemeni Jewish Family and has risen to quick success.

Ahmed Al-Shaiba is a Yemeni multi-instrumentalist who performs primarily on the oud, a traditional Middle Eastern lute. He has been based in New York since Yemen’s war. He initially rose to prominence after posting videos of himself covering modern, western pop songs, such as ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran. His new music is of original composition and can be found on Spotify.

Jordan Elgrably is a Franco-American writer of Moroccan heritage whose work has appeared widely in the U.S. and Europe. He is the former cofounder and director of the Levantine Cultural Center/The Markaz (2001-2020) in Los Angeles. He founded The Markaz Review in 2020, which he edits from Montpellier. Follow Jordan on Twitter @JordanElgrably.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *