Yasmin Levy | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader

Yasmin Levy All Ages Soundboard

When: Wed., Nov. 4, 8:30 p.m. 2009

Since her debut in 2004, Israeli singer YASMIN LEVY has been a driving force in the revival of Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish language that spread throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. If that were all you knew about her music, you might expect it to be fussy or stodgy, but instead it’s a buoyant hodgepodge of flamenco rhythms, Turkish and Arabic influences, and other Mediterranean sounds. Though her fourth album, Sentir, just came out in Europe, her third and best recording, 2007’s Mano Suave, recently became her first American release when Four Quarters issued it stateside. Her powerfully sensual voice, which combines flamenco’s fiery passion with the microtonal melisma of Middle Eastern music, ripples across sashaying grooves built from hand percussion, Turkish-Arabic instruments like oud, ney, and qanun, and Western standbys like acoustic guitar and piano. The pop-palatable arrangements can be a tad glossy and florid for my tastes, but Levy’s voice can cut through them with little trouble. —Peter Margasak

Price: $5 suggested donation

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