Sample Track 1: "Gammar Bedawi" from Laroz with Ravid
Sample Track 2: "Tuch" from Laroz with Ravid
Sample Track 3: "Silent Screamer" from Morphisis
Sample Track 4: "Spiral" from Morphisis
Free Loops and Ecstatic Grooves: Tel Aviv-Based VEGA Launches Electronic Music Initiative at Art Basel Miami Beach with a Pop-Up Tent, Featuring Middle Eastern Sounds, Flavors and Feelings from the Region.
”Our goal is to dissolve the walls between people with music,” says the collective team behind VEGA, which includes Meir Kordevani and Adi Englman of the Tel Aviv based Picnic Magazine; and producer, Monica Haim. “We hope to unite music and art lovers across the Middle East, and beyond, via dynamic cultural exchanges.” This is the driving force behind VEGA, a new music and art label sparked in the often unsung, vibrant diversity of Israel, and born of a deep love of electronic music and its ability to open minds and melt boundaries.
To bring this energy to the world, VEGA will host its first major event—VEGA TEL AVIV MIAMI—with a pop-up Bedouin tent designed by hip Belgian firm Cnocspot (http://www.cnocspot.be/) in the middle of Miami’s Design District, at the heart of Art Basel Miami Beach.
Bass music and deep roots will mingle, as feelings and flavors from the region (including camels!) will mix with the edgy, compelling sounds of the Middle East (featuring high-intensity sets by charismatic Yemenite-Israeli singer Ravid Kahalani, Israeli dub/grime DJ Laroz, and by free-thinking, jazz-inspired Lebanese DJ Morphosis). The goal: to show how eclectic, ecstatic music can inspire togetherness, and to shine a light on the traditions of tolerance and coexistence that continue in the Middle East—despite uncertain times.
When: December 6, 2012; 6:00 pm – 12:00 am
Where: 151 NE 41ST ST (between North Miami Ave and NE 2nd Ave)
This year, the goal is to bring the sensual feelings of the whole region to Miami’s Design District.
Ravid Kahalani: “Your language is my language,” striking singer and incandescent performer Ravid Kahalani says. “It doesn’t matter to which god you pray, so long as the melody comes from heart. This is exactly what I want to sing all the time, what I want to give people when I sing.” Kahalani does just that, both when the vocalist channels both his Yemenite Jewish roots and his love of bluesmen like Leadbelly, and in riveting electronica-driven sets. For this Miami performance, Kahalani will move from his rootsy Middle Eastern essence (backed by a hard-hitting live band), to pieces drawing powerfully on bass culture and club sounds (with help from Tel Aviv’s DJ Laroz, who has co-operated with Israel's top artists, writing and co-producing some of the most significant Israeli albums)—all of it boosted by Kahalani’s soaring, evocative, multi-octave voice.
Morphosis: Born in Lebanon, DJ/producer/electronic musician Morphosis (Rabih Beaini) fled his native land’s war and turmoil for Venice, Italy, where he found his signature approach. Transforming the house and techno that made up the bulk of his first sets, Beaini turned to his love of live spontaneity, musique concrète, and avant jazz (think Sun Ra) into nuanced, spacious bass music. A darling of the intelligent dance music scene, Morphosis relishes his life at the musical crossroads (he recently returned fulltime to Lebanon), where Arabic classical music and ecstatic jazz riffs meet serious grooves.
“What I do is try to work with a loop in a way to free it,” Beaini reflected in a 2011 interview. “Maybe it won't get free, but that is the process of it and that is how I work making music. All the modulations, all the sounds, the shapes: It is a matter of freedom.”
For this Miami launch, VEGA also celebrates its first musical release with a limited edition vinyl pressing of Sonne, written and produced by Morphosis (Rabih Beaini and performed live at the Rote Sonne, Munich), and was specially released for the launch of VEGA.
The Jerusalem based musician and artist, Daniel Kiczales will open the event with his audio-visual video piece called The Messenger (2011; please see still image from the video above). This piece, shot in Jerusalem, introduces a staged conversation between two sonic interlocutors: a traditional Muezzin call, inviting the Muslim prayers to come and pray in the mosque, and the artist himself, playing an electric guitar from an opposite hill. The video introduces a sequence of five acts in which the artist flirts with the Muezzin throughout one single day. The physical space that hosts this sequence of sonic flirtation is a beautiful yet complex one, a space that holds great potential for rich and diverse cultural dialogues and exchanges.
The event will also feature a debut presentation of the music-inspired, wood and marble sculpture, Meshuggah Gate Hold That Pyramid For Me, by the up and coming Jerusalem-based plastic artist and musician, Alma Ben Yossef. The piece will be embedded within Cnocspot’s pop-up scenography. On-site live video projections, lush graphic design, and Middle-Eastern style drinks and snacks will also be a part of this multi-sensory offering.
VEGA is an initiative launched by the same cosmopolitan, Tel Aviv-based and inspired crew behind the savvy, image-based Picnic Magazine (www.picnicmagazine.net), who with this new effort, shift their focus from visual art to music.
Producer and VEGA collaborator, Monica Haim, is also the creator of the independent documentary film, Awake Zion (www.awakezion.net), which, through music, explores the link between Judaism and Rasta, in a conscious attempt to celebrate the unexpected (but ever-present) connections between cultures.
Restless in the fine art world, the Picnic team longed to break visual art out of the confines of galleries, museums, and commercialism, with music as a mere backdrop, a supplement to the magazine’s populist approach to the image. Yet they realized, when they saw the electronic music scene in Tel Aviv expand rapidly and draw together fans from diverse backgrounds, that they had the order reversed. As a group, they joined forces and decided to launch VEGA, which puts music front and center, in hopes of uniting the disparate and shifting the cultural—and perhaps the political—landscape.
“Because we are situated in an area that is often associated–unfortunately with reason–with war and terror, VEGA exists to whole-heartedly convey a positive and constructive energy of unification through the arts,” the VEGA team notes. “Music, and especially electronic music, brings people together effortlessly, we’ve found.”
What is VEGA?
A star. A compass. A messenger of light.
VEGA is also a new music and art label coming from the Middle East, from Tel Aviv Jaffa, one of the few cities where Muslims, Christians and Jews peacefully co-exist.
Harnessing the thriving momentum of music in this part of the world, VEGA aims to access the prospect of peace via a carefully planned public program driven mostly by the genre of electronic music. At its heart, VEGA aims to bring a modern approach to an ancient dilemma.
To accomplish this, VEGA connects artists and audiences from different communities and backgrounds. It seeks to give birth to music and art productions that are constantly fueled towards the spirit of coming together. It is essentially a new kind of creative hub where music and art featured and nurtured as a cross-cultural bridge-building tool.