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Yasmin Levy - Sept 25

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:01 pm
by Charlie
I cannot recall a Radio Ping Pong encounter in which the other party’s taste and criteria were so clearly identified and articulated. For the Israeli vocalist Yasmin Levy, the only point in singing is to reach deep into yourself and get it all out. In terms of genre, race and religion, she is as open-minded as anybody could be, but woe betide the person who presents her with a singer who sounds hemmed in by convention or inhibition. I made the misjudgement twice and didn’t like the discomfort at all. By the end, I felt like I had been in duel with only a short pencil to deal with Yasmin’s slashing sword. Next time, I’ll be ready.

In the past I have sometimes wished that I could hear Yasmin holding back on some songs, because a whole album of her unrestrained intensity can be difficult to take. But as the session unfolded before my eyes and ears, I began to understand that this is how she is, a force of nature not likely to be tamed. Her new album Sentir was recorded under the direction of Javier Limón in Spain, where the passion of Flamenco is parallel with Yasmin’s style. Javier’s approach is gentle, sometimes on the edge of cocktail lounge piano, and it takes a little while to adjust to the combination. The pivotal track is ‘Hallelujah,’ the Leonard Cohen song which has become almost too familiar in the past year through the success of several other recordings. But Yasmin really does claim it and make it her own, not only on the album but in this session performance where she extemporised an extra verse.

The session was fascinating for several reasons, beginning with Yasmin’s request for a particular kind of reverb echo to be set up on the studio monitors. It is unusual for such effects to be made available in this way, because it can lead to feedback. “I’m addicted to reverb,â€


PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:25 pm
by Charlie
emails from:

1. Don Rooke

Thanks Charlie, that was a great anecdote. Of course most people would not be convinced that coolness doesn't have a higher-up place in music too (where would Miles playing a ballad be ranked in Ms Levy's pantheon?), but that kind of fierceness and commitment is in short supply. I wonder (this is a bit of local bias showing) what she might do with, say, a track like 'Year in Song' by Mary Margaret O'Hara. Surely that vocal performance would be a contender on someone's scale of being hemmed in neither by convention nor inhibition, even if it's cloaked in popular-music outer wear.

(It does strike me as odd that lots of reverb is a pre-req for your guest, since it has a distancing effect on whatever it hits: the less there is, the more in-your-face the sound....)


Don Rooke
(The Henrys)


2. Gerry Cordon

Last Friday's World on 3 with Charlie Gillett was one of the best music shows I've listened to in a long while.

I thought you might like to pass on my appreciation of the show to Charlie, with this link to a post on my blog, stimulated by his discussion with Yasmin Levy:


Gerry Cordon

PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 1:24 pm
by Alan
listen again for 7 days up until next Friday evening 2 October via this link

Charlie Gillett hosts a session with Yasmin Levy
World on 3, Friday 25th September


PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:16 pm
by liz molony
What a week of world music Charlie and this night of PASSION.

Thank goodness for the chance to 'Replay' because your guest Yasmin Levy was fascinating - her natural intimacy and enlightening comments about her inspirations. The Turkish backing to her choice : Ibrahim Tatlises: sounded very Arabic and beautifully haunting.
I hope you will play again the KURDISH singer from Istanbul, AYNUR who sang 'Ehmedo' [played 26 June]
I enjoyed especially her excited descriptions of Antonia Melina - and his stark Spanish dark and lights

After your delightful choice of the gentle lilt of Janet Esim what contrast in the agonising sounds of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - who I felt takes us on a cathartic journey. The instruments of India are spiritually healing.

But WOW you really gave us the chance to experience the tightrope of real feeling in BUIKA's 'Volver Volver'. Imagine being in his presence!!

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:21 am
by Charlie
liz molony wrote: Ibrahim Tatlises: sounded very Arabic and beautifully haunting.
I hope you will play again the KURDISH singer from Istanbul, AYNUR who sang 'Ehmedo' [played 26 June]

But WOW you really gave us the chance to experience the tightrope of real feeling in BUIKA's 'Volver Volver'. Imagine being in his presence!!

Yesterday I had lunch with Aynur in Stoke Newington, went shopping with her sister Aysun to buy two albums by Ibrahim Tatlises, and spent the evening at Ocean in Hackney where Aynur was on the bill. It was fascinating to discover how popular she is among the Kurdish community, who shouted the titles of her best known songs, and roared when they recognised the intro to 'Ahmedo' (also spelled 'Ehmedo').

I'm intrigued that you mistook Buika for a man, she is definitely female....and startlingly beautiful.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:17 pm
by Philellinas
An excellent session on Friday with Yasmin Levy. I wonder what she would make of three other forays into the Sephardic field:-




I suspect two would be regarded as too cerebral or scholarly but the third might just meet Yasmin's demanding criteria.
There was a slip of the tongue. "Sefarad" means "Spain" in Hebrew. Hence Sephardic. For some reason it is easy to confuse nationalities and/or languages when one moves in multi-cultural and multi-lingual circles.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:46 am
by liz molony
Hi Charlie,
Do you first hear the singers you admire in person, and so associate voice with image? I hear through the faceless medium of radio and don't picture the singer. It's exciting opening up your website to see them.
I associated the sound of Buika with Molina's voice which moves from masculinity to great delicacy, weaving drifts of sound like the thread of a web.

Listening to Buika after your note and having found her expressive smiling face on the Internet I enjoyed this new association of image and sound. I couldn't before have imagined her ever smiling with her heartachingly slow and whispered phrasing. She can make the sounds of someone in deep mourning.

To think while I was searching the shelves of the local farmers' Co-0p for a currently-in-real-life-use piece of toy farm machinery [for a 2 year old grandson who KNOWS what's out on the fields], you were in the actual presence of AYNUR, and then out adding to your music collection!
I hope you will share with us a piece of the magic she performed at the show that night....Please.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:41 pm
by Neil Foxlee
Caught up with this, just a couple of clarifications.

I and I (as Rastas say instead of 'we') would suggest that Queen Ifrica should be pronounced I-frica, not If-rica.

Her track T.T.P.N.C. is apparently a Tribute To the Pitfour Nyahbinghi Centre.

Apart from that, the vocals by Antonio Molina and Buika were amazing (though the hyperdramatic, tortured style might prove wearing).

Next time Yasmin Levy is on, you should try some suitably emotive gospel on her.

PS And Yasmin herself wasn't bad either! That Fat Freddy's Drop track was also interesting for the way it blended and shifted between genres (not only New Orleans brass band and funk, but also blues at the start). I haven't liked their reggae-lite stuff before, but this was altogether more palatable to these ears.

PPS Charlie, you should really get a new photo for the iPlayer page.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:31 pm
by howard male
I prefer Alexandra Burke’s version of Halleluiah.

I’ll get my coat…

Re: Yasmin Levy - Sept 25

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:16 pm
by Hugh Weldon
I found myself chatting to somebody about Yasmin the other night, and then remembered how impressed I had been by her on this ping-pong with Charlie. (aside from the rather odd choice of Tina Turner's 'Private Dancer'.) I used to tape most of the shows, but was out when this was on and had to listen on iplayer - it's now long disappeared of course. So just wondering if anyone here by any chance taped it. If so and you could lend it or send as a file I'd be very grateful. PM me.