The Afro-Semitic Experience is an American roots band with a difference--they merge Jewish and Afro-diasporic melodies and grooves, combining the core concepts of ase and shalom - power, action, unity, and peace.  
 
As legendary jazz critic, Nat Hentoff wrote “. . . never before have I heard this lyrically powerful a fusion of Jewish and jazz souls on fire. . .”   The Afro-Semitic Experience's music is described by critic Carlos Ramos as "a whoopin', hollerin', testifyin' celebration of multicultural soul music. Imagine Charles Mingus sitting in with a Klezmer band, playing Gospel music set to the polyrhythmic pace of congas and bongos." 

The name of the group says it all: Afro-Semitic Experience. Imagine a band that smoothly and creatively moves from Klezmer to hard bop in the same piece.  Imagine musicians who have found a way to play with the feel of both a synagogue and an African American church.  This is root music-- soul jazz meant to move you as they make a joyful noise!!! 

The Afro-Semitic Experience has been together for almost 17 years.  The group was founded in 1998 by pianist Warren Byrd and bassist David Chevan.  It all began when the duo were invited to play at a Martin Luther King memorial service.  They thought this was going to be a one-time gig, but during the reception following the service they had received four more performances.  And that is pretty much how it's been since then (word of mouth may be a slow way to grow a group but it is honest and real).  As this project grew the duo quickly expanded into a seven piece ensemble that could play music of almost any style from the Jewish and African American musical traditions. In so many ways the Afro-Semitic Experience is a truly American band, albeit the America of immigrants and forced migration and it is the music of freedom that brings these musicians together.  In the past sixteen years the band has recorded 8 albums and given concerts throughout the United States.

For more about The Afro-Semitic Experience please visit the band's website: www.afrosemiticexperience.net or send an e-mail to info@afrosemiticexperience.net

 

Here's the performance calendar for the Afro-Semitic Experience

Previous events

May22

Letters from the Affair @ the Washington DC Jewish Music Festival

Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th Street NW, Washington, DC

Letters from the Affair performs on the closing day at the Washington DC Jewish Music Festival featuring Cantor Randall Schloss--Camille Pissarro Cantor Martin Levson--Edgar Degas Alvin Benjamin Carter, Jr., narrator and drum set Dana Astmann--accordion Will Bartlett--clarinet and saxophone David Chevan--bass

for more info https://www.jxjdc.org/events/afro-semitic-experience-presents-letters-from-the-affair/

May21

Letters from the Affair @ An Die Musik Live

An Die Musik Live , 409 N Charles St., Baltimore

A performance of Letters from the Affair, a tale about life in Paris during the Dreyfus Affair featuring Cantor Randall Schloss--Camille Pissarro Cantor Martin Levson--Edgar Degas Alvin Benjamin Carter, Jr., narrator and drum set Dana Astmann--accordion Will Bartlett--clarinet and saxophone David Chevan--bass

May19

Letters from the Affair @ Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont and Emanu-El

Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont and Emanu-El, 2 Ogden Road, Scarsdale

A performance of Letters from the Affair, a tale about life in Paris during the Dreyfus Affair featuring Cantor Randall Schloss--Camille Pissarro Cantor Martin Levson--Edgar Degas Alvin Benjamin Carter, Jr., narrator and drum set Dana Astmann--accordion Will Bartlett--clarinet and saxophone David Chevan--bass

for more info or to sign up to attend please go to this link on the synagogue website: https://www.sstte.org/event/letters-from-the-affair-featuring-the-afro-semitic-experience-at-scarsdale-synagogue.html

Apr9

David Chevan and friends swing the night away @ Veracious Brewery

Veracious Brewery, 246 Main Street, Monroe

Please join me at Veracious Brewery as I make some exhilarating and swinging sounds with Ellyne Rey on vocals and Warren Byrd on keys and vocals Great beer and great jazz always go well together!!!

Feb5

Bassology @ Veracious Brewery

 — (EST, UTC-05) — (EST, UTC-05)

Veracious Brewery, 246 Main Street, Monroe

I'm returning to Veracious Brewery for an evening of swinging jazz with the latest edition of Bassology. I'll be playing with Ellynne Rey on vocals Andrew Wilcox on keyboards Jazz, blues and brews, the perfect combination for a Saturday evening. Hope you'll join us!!!

Jan16

The Afro-Semitic Experience @ the Washington DC JCC

Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th Street NW, Washington, DC

Building on 25 years of exploring social and racial justice through music, The Afro-Semitic Experience presents a celebration of one of America’s most cherished heroes–Dr. Martin Luther King.

Revel in the ensemble’s eclectic beat and unique blend of jazz, klezmer, gospel, as they offer a tribute to Liberty, Equity, and Community. The program features music that inspired Dr. King, including his favorite gospel hymns, songs from the Civil Rights era, and more. The group will also share their original compositions that celebrate this legacy, Unity in the Community, Plea for Peace, and My Feet Began to Pray.

Jan14

Friday night Shabbat Shira and MLK Service with The Afro-Semitic Experience

Barnert Temple, 747 Route 208 South, Franklin Lake

The Afro-Semitic Experience play for a Shabbat Shirah and MLK service at the Barnert Temple. Please join us as we celebrate freedom and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Pre-registration and proof of vaccination are required to join the service in person. Please email the synagogue at info@barnerttemple.org or phone 201-848-1800 if you would like to join the service in person.

Everyone is welcome to join us remotely via LiveControl. Click Here to Join https://barnerttemple.livecontrol.tv/

Dec31

David Chevan and the Nu Haven Kapelye set at the Klezathon

Yiddish New York Klezathon

The Nu Haven Kapelye plays a set as part of the 24 hour Klezathon hosted by Yiddish New York. Tune in for our set or watch the entire performance using the link above. There will be performances from all over the world. The concert begins at 1 pm on Thursday, December 30 and runs through 1 pm on Friday, December 31. There's no fee for watching!!! It's a free concert.

Dec9

David Chevan Klezmer Quartet @ Best Video

Best Video, 1843 Whitney Avenue, Hamden

I’m bringing a Klezmer quartet to Best Video on Thursday, December 9 from 7-9 pm. The group features Dana Astmann on accordion, Will Bartlett on clarinet (and occasionally sax) and David Sasso on mandolin. The repertoire pulls very heavily from Klezmer and early swing. This is the first time we’ll be playing in public, though we have been getting together on and off since early this summer. I feel that we’re beginning to put our own stamp on this material. Sometimes things are coming out straight Klezmer and sometimes it swings like crazy, and it never sounds the same twice—in a good way. Come raise a ruckus and shake your tuchus!!! Who knows? There may even be some special guests who pop in to join the group for a tune or two.

Nov12

David Chevan and friends play Klezmer @ Veracious Brewery

Veracious Brewery, 246 Main Street, Monroe

Greatmusic and great beer. The perfect way to spend a Friday evening. Will Bartlett on clarinet, David Sasso on mandolin and some guitar. I'll carry the bottom end. We're playing a mix of Klezmer and Klezmer in swing!!! Please join us for the merry making Klezmer musicians and singers are welcome to sit in!!!

Oct20

Letters from the Affair @ King Alfred Phoenix Theatre in London

King Alfred Phoenix Theater, Ivy Wood, North End Road, London NW11 7HY, United Kingdom, London

Presented by TSITSIT The Jewish Fringe Festival: Please join us for the UK premiere of Letters from the Affair with Cantor Martin Levson as Edgar Degas and Yoav Oved as Camille Pissarro A multi-media music theatre piece using the original letters of Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro to tell the story of how the Dreyfus Affair affected the lives and friendship of these two founders of the Impressionist movement. “it’s bracing to be reminded how music can reveal layers deeper than words alone.” Rabbi David Wolpe, Temple Sinai, Los Angeles “an amazing piece that ties into social justice” Dian Brown-Albert, Director, Multicultural Center, Southern Connecticut State University

Oct17

Letters from the Affair @ the Jewish Museum of London

Jewish Museum, 129-131 Albert Street, London

Presented by TSITSIT The Jewish Fringe Festival: Please join us for the UK premiere of Letters from the Affair with Cantor Martin Levson as Edgar Degas and Yoav Oved as Camille Pissarro A multi-media music theatre piece using the original letters of Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro to tell the story of how the Dreyfus Affair affected the lives and friendship of these two founders of the Impressionist movement. “it’s bracing to be reminded how music can reveal layers deeper than words alone.” Rabbi David Wolpe, Temple Sinai, Los Angeles “an amazing piece that ties into social justice” Dian Brown-Albert, Director, Multicultural Center, Southern Connecticut State University

Sep24

David Chevan and friends @ Solun Tapas

Solun Restaurant, 245 Amity Road, Woodbridge

This week I'm celebrating my birthday and with all of the gigs I’ve lost recently because of the Delta variant I'm feeling lucky to have a public gig during my birthday week. It will be this Friday, September 24, at Solun Tapas 245 Amity Road in Woodbridge, Connecticut from 7-10 pm. I'll be playing with two colleagues from Southern Connecticut State University. Our voice teacher Ellynne Rey and our sax and musicianship teacher Will Cleary. I hope you can come on by and hear some of our swinging music and help me celebrate my birthday. Instrumentalists and singers, I know how hard it is to find a chance to play in public, you are very welcome to sit in with us after the first set.

Aug16

The Afro-Semitic Experience: In Concert IN PERSON at Seth Thomas Park

Seth Thomas Park, Thomaston

The Afro-Semitic Experience come to Seth Thomas Park for an in person concert. Admission is free. We will be celebrating Unity in the Community!! Come join the experience!!!

Jun21

The Nu Haven Kapelye celebrate Make Music Day at Bear's Smokehouse BBQ

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Bear's Smokehouse BBQ, 470 James Street, New Haven

We're playing a set of Klezmer music on the outdoor stage at Bear's Smokehouse BBQ in New Haven for Make Music Day. What could be better than beer, brats and Klez!!!!

Jun19

The Afro-Semitic Experience: In Concert IN PERSON at Temple Ner Tamid

Temple Ner Tamid, 936 Broad Street, Bloomfield

The Afro-Semitic Experience come to Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, New Jersey for our first in person concert since the beginning of the pandemic. COVID protocols will be observed. Come celebrate Unity in the Community with a live and in person concert like no other!!!!

Stacy Phillips (1944-2018)