Ravid Kahalani of Yemen Blues
Ravid Kahalani of Yemen Blues Todd Cooper

Pickathon's Starlight Series continues with this scorching performance from Yemen Blues, the Tel Aviv-based band that was for my money the greatest discovery of the 2016 festival. They're playing "Min Kalbi," a mini-epic of sorts that takes a basic but insistent groove and turns it into something transcendent. Frontman Ravid Kahalani locks down the low end on his gimbri while Shanir Blumenkranz turns the melancholy intervals of his oud into something mysterious and entrancing. Things build until Blumenkranz lets fly a wicked electric bass solo, and the whole thing becomes a global psychedelic freakout. It's amazing:

This premiere is an episode of the Starlight Series in the Pickathon 2016-2017 Season, presented by the Portland Mercury and The Stranger and made possible by Lagunitas Brewing Company. See other episodes in the series at the links below. This year's Pickathon goes down August 3-6 and includes such awaiting discoveries as Huun Huur Tu, Kaia Katar, Khun Narin, Marlon Williams, Wolf People, and many more, playing alongside big names like Charles Bradley, Dinosaur Jr., and Drive-By Truckers. Tickets are moving fast so get some over at Pickathon's site.

Past episodes in the 2016-2017 season of Pickathon's Starlight Series:
• Episode 1: Fruit Bats
• Episode 2: Futurebirds
• Episode 3: Ezra Furman
• Episode 4: Boulevards
• Episode 5: Cass McCombs