Saturday, April 30, 2016

Invisible System - Street Clan [2011] [eng]

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Invisible System - Street Clan

       Invisible System return with another highly original eclectic fusion album. Following their internationally acclaimed and Songlines World Music Awards Best Newcomer Nominated CD Punt (Made in Ethiopia), Street Clan is named after some graffiti Dan Harper found in Mali, West Africa. It is again not a pure world music album. It covers genres such as rock, dance, drum and bass, dub, reggae, Ethiopian, post-punk, kraut rock, pop, psychedelia and even this time r'n'b and dubstep.

      17 tracks take you through a real journey of shockingly original pulsating sounds that tie to Punt but sound more accomplished and distinctive in style. The album was again recorded between Ethiopia, Mali and the UK whilst Dan Harper was aid working, with the mixing finished in country. Many known guests again feature on this album including Portishead's Adrian Utley and Skip McDonald (African Head Charge, The Sugar Hill Gang, Tackhead and Little Axe.

          It’s impossible not to admire Dan Harper. Until five years ago, he was an aid worker in Ethiopia, where he not only became fascinated by the country’s remarkable music scene but built his own studio in Addis Ababa and managed to persuade leading local artists to record with him. He also invited producer and bassist Nick Page, also known as Count Dubulah, out to Ethiopia and introduced him to his musical friends; as a result, Page formed his highly successful Ethiopian fusion band Dub Colossus.

     Once he returned to England, where he now works as an unconventional music teacher in the West Country, Harper continued work on a fusion project of his own. He persuaded an impressive selection of British musicians to add their contributions to his Ethiopian recordings, and the result was the album Punt, credited to a band Harper called Invisible System. It included a remarkable cast, from the legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed through to punk hero Captain Sensible, guitarist Justin Adams and Count Dubulah; the results veered from African styles to psychedelic rock, trip-hop and dub. Although this was originally something of an obscure DIY release, Harper managed to bring his work to national attention, and won impressive reviews.

        Since then, the two Ethiopian fusion experiments have continued. Dub Colossus, now a rousing live band rather than merely a studio project, have a new album of Ethio-jazz and reggae fusions, Addis Through the Looking Glass, while Invisible System have a very different second set, Street Clan.

         Once again, the album is based around recordings that Harper made in Africa – this time in Mali as well as Ethiopia – to which he adds his own guitar, bass, synth programming, percussion and production work. Then there are contributions from a new set of Western musicians, including the great American guitarist Skip McDonald, Adrian Utley (Portishead), Stuart Fisher (who has worked with Courtney Love), and members of psychedelic hippie heroes Ozric Tentacles. Then there’s Jamaican singer Dennis Wint, who Harper met in the Somerset town of Frome, where he lives and works.

        Street Clan is even more wild, frantic and unexpected than Punt, with sections that work brilliantly and tracks where Ethiopian vocals are surrounded by a blitz of thrash guitar and percussion, results ranging from exhilarating to messy. The best tracks come towards the end, where the emphasis shifts from the clash of African vocals with full-tilt Western guitars, through to more conventional dub reggae. There’s still an African edge to Teenage Lion and Broken Heart, thanks to the vocal work from Zewditu Tadesse; but Wint dominates the songs with an energy and style that makes him sound like an unlikely male answer to early Patti Smith.

      There's a huge sea change between Invisible System's debut and this sophomore outing. Where the first was definitely based around Ethiopian music, this is a much more amorphous and adventurous beast. If it needs to be defined, it's a rock -- maybe even post-rock -- album. Ethiopia is still there, and some of the music was recorded in Addis Ababa. But many of the sounds were made in England using a truly staggering range of musicians, and there's a powerful Jamaican influence at work here, too. If you need an analogy, think of the work of Adrian Sherwood, or even some PiL (in fact, "Mutant Miners" sounds like it could be have been smuggled off some fantastical PiL album). This is world music in the sense that it was made by people from different parts of the globe coming together, but its roots are in the here and now rather than in any tradition. It's challenging, adventurous, and heavily textured; the tracks were recorded live and later chopped up and mixed, although you'd never notice the joints. It might prove to be one of the finds of 2011, a real sonic adventure that speaks highly of Dan Harper, the man behind it all.

review by Chris Nickson

01 Tizita (feat. Portishead Adrian Utley, Ethiopiques)                                                       4:01  
02 Ambassel (feat. Mimi + band (after signed as Dub Colossus also))                          5:25
03 Zedanmer (feat. Eat Static, Ethiopiques)                                                       4:38
04 Bone Flaps (feat. Merv Pepler and Los Mutartis + Ethiopiques)                                3:51
05 Backyard (feat. Skip McDonald (On U Sound, LIttle Axe, Sugar Hill Gang), Dennis… 4:47
06 Skunk Funk (feat. The Ullulators)                                                                                     4:30
07 Opidervtu (feat. Eat Static, Ethiopiques)                                                                       4:26
08 Womens Love (feat. Ozric Tentacles, Rythmites, Ethiopiques, Sydney Salmon)   6:15
09 Mutant Miners (feat. Merv Pepler, Los Mutartis, Ethiopiques)               6:08
10 Live Up To Love (feat. Hilaire Chabby (Baba Maal), Dennis Wint, Ethiopiques)     3:15
11 Men Dont Cry (feat. Eat Static, Dennis Wint, Ethiopqiues)                                       2:46
12 Oumabetty (feat. Jonny / Akrilu (Mamoud Ahmed))                                                   3:13
13 Teenage Lion (feat. Ryhthmites Flash, Ethiopques,)                                               6:08
14 Broken Heart (feat. Dennis Wint, Leyikun Ethiopia)                                               3:33
15 Katabo (feat. Merv Pepler, Dennis Wint)                                                               3:45
16 Naturalisation (feat. Dennis Wint, Joie Hinton)                                                       7:57
17 Rapture (feat. Merv Pepler, Dennis Wint)                                                               3:20

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dub Colossus - A town called Addis [2006] [ethiopia]

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       This project brings together an extraordinary but little known African musical heritage, a labour of love recording in a makeshift studio in down-town Addis Ababa and then a journey back to Real World to capture for the first time ever in the UK some of Ethiopia's finest performers.

       This project is the vision of Dub Colossus - Dubulah - aka Nick Page. Composer, guitarist, bass player and programmer Nick started his music career with Michael Riley (Steel Pulse) and in 1990 formed Transglobal Underground with Tim and Hammi, produced-wrote-played six albums before leaving in 1997 to form Temple of Sound with Neil Sparkes.

       Ethiopian music is the hidden gem of Africa. At the end of the Sixties and the early Seventies, Ethiopia was in the dying years of the imperial decline of Haile Selassie and the early years of a brutally repressive junta led by Mengistu. Within the confines of this stifling and constrictive environment there flowered some astonishing music. At times showing Fela Kuti's influences, in the big band sax flavour and other times a different take on regional music, this is a music that is accessible to all and has been championed by the likes of Robert Plant, Brian Eno and Elvis Costello. The style of contemporary Ethiopia music captured by Dub Colossus ranges from dreamy blues, hypnotic grooves, jazz piano and driving funk brass.

       "A Town Called Addis" was inspired by meeting , writing and working with singers and musicians in Addis Ababa in August 2006, and is a collaboration between Dub Colossus (Nick Page) and these amazing musicians covering Azmari and traditional styles as well as the popular singing styles of the 60s and 70s. It seeks to combine the golden years of ethiopique beats (popular again thanks to the release of the critically acclaimed 'Ethiopique' compliation ) and ethiojazz with the dub reggae styles of early 70s reggae groups like the Abyssinians, Mighty Diamonds and so on. along with a hint of Sun Ra..." (Dub Colossus/aka Nick Page)

       The first sessions took place in a breeze block hut under corrugated iron roof bombarded by the sounds of the rainy season high up on the mountain plateau where Addis is built. "...the sound of children playing, dogs barking and women washing all permeate the sessions and help the flavour of the record, albeit as ambient smoke.....Although a howling cat chasing a rat under the roof destroyed one vocal take completely...!"

       We brought these unique urban field recordings home to Real World to complete the picture. In March 2008 we invited a group of outstanding performers from Addis to travel to the UK. Some of these artists are unknown talents who have never traveled outside of their country before now, while others such as singer Sintayehu 'Mimi' Zenebe (Addis Ababa night club owner and know as the Ethiopian Edith Piaf ) and master saxophonist Feleke Hailu (a classical composer, lecturer and head of music at the Yared Music School and part of a dynastic tradition that stretches back far beyond the classic hits his father arranged for Mahmoud Ahmad in the late 1960s) have a huge reputation. They are joined by Teremag Weretow who, with his plaintive voice, playing his messenqo ( one-string fiddle) is a youthful carrier of an ancient tradition; extraordinary pianist Samuel Yirga is an exciting new discovery - a young prodigy of classical and Ethiojazz and finally the glamourous star Tsedenia Gebremarkos, winner of a Kora award as the best female singer in East Africa in 2004,

       From the most primitive recording context to one of the best in the world, this project is an audio journey - and discovery of one of the most alluring, funky and seductive genres of African music.

01. Dub Colossus - Azmari Dub (5:05)
02. Dub Colossus - Entoto Dub (5:55)
03. Dub Colossus - Tazeb Kush (5:52)
04. Dub Colossus - Shegye Shegitu (Blue Nile Mix) (3:54)
05. Dub Colossus - Shegye Shegitu (One Drop mix) (4:49)
06. Dub Colossus - Yeka Sub City Rockers (5:04)
07. Dub Colossus - Shem City Steppers (5:28)
08. Dub Colossus - Tizita Dub (7:38)
09. Dub Colossus - Black Rose (4:06)
10. Dub Colossus - Neh Yelginete (5:40)
11. Dub Colossus - Ophir Dub (4:40)
12. Dub Colossus - Sima Edy (4:40)
13. Dub Colossus - Mercato Music (5:47)
14. Dub Colossus - Ambassel (4:40)
15. Dub Colossus - Ambassel In Box (5:47)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sheba Sound - Cassette Chichika – Dance-floor heavy [ethiopia]

    visit Sheba Sound official site : HERE                                  

  Cassette Chichika – Dance-floor heavy 

The second in a series of mixes of obscure Ethio-funk Chichika gems, direct from Sheba Sound.

None of the songs on this mix were ever pressed up on a record, or reissued on CD. They are all original sounds recently dug up from old cassette shops around Ethiopia.

In 1974 Mengistu crushed Haile Selassie and came into power in Ethiopia. By the late 70s, all the labels pressing up tunes on vinyl, such as Amha and Philips, had been forced to shut down their operations.

This left the cassette shops to continue the work of publishing the new music that was coming out. Notable heavyweight houses pushing Amaharic music, such as Electra and Anbassel, took the lion’s share of the big names.

Naturally, as time went by, the sound of the music evolved. In this mix, you will hear how the classic 70s ‘ethio-funk’ sound (represented in the first ‘Chichika’ mix on this site) transforms in the 80s into something much less frantic and more precise. The bands themselves tend to be smaller, allowing the bass players to take a more driving lead. This particular evolution of the bass defines the sound of Amhara music from this period.

Tracklist (Artist / Title / Label)

01 - Aregahegne Werash – Nafkot Yalefal (Electra)
02 - Haile Mikael – Lebe Gerageru (Anbassel)
03 - Muluken Melesse Lemezawaez (Electra)
04 - Ephrem Tamru – Akal Gela (Electra 1978)
05 - Kefel Bekele – Mela Alesh (Menaz 1984)
06 - Thiedros Tadesse – Bmewededachen (Electra)
07 - Ayalew Mesfin – Kalegne Fegshem (Ayalew Bet)
08 - Tsegaye Eshetu – Agerash Shegar
09 - Teshome Welde – Matewa (Genet)
10 - Fisseha Alamayehu – Endenesh
11 - Haile Mikael – Agebe (Anbassel)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ketema Makonnen - Ketema Makonnen [PH131] [1972] [ethiopia]

originally posted here : A Tertiary Source

           An incredibly skilled player of the Kirar, or the 6-string bowled lyre, Ketema Makonnen's style is comparable to that of Kassa Tessema (who was recently documented on Buda's Ethiopiques). Deeply sorrowful and forlorn, these strings kick up a dusty trail of longing, intuitively navigated by his warm, rustic voice. I find his style much more penetrating than that of Kassa's, where Tessema has a gentler pluck of his krar and a softer vocal leverage, Ketema has a higher degree of ferocity.

Ketema Makonnen - Tizita 1974-5

            Although digging up information on Mekonnen has proven to be difficult, partially due to the varied spellings of his last name (Amharic to English translations are, indeed, fickle), he does have at least one other album recorded for Phillips documented from 1974.

       On this album, many recognizable Tizita classics are heard, including Tizita itself, as well as a personal favorite, Mela Mela (any Ethiopian artist who sings this heart-wrenching ballad tends to leave an impression on me). Mekonnen's rendition is gorgeous, and some of the more obscure titles on the B side match the quality of it. Whirling with delirious melodic shifts, Mekonnen's style is unique and compelling. While basic details of his life are difficult to extract from the labyrinthine depths of the internet, his mark is made on the traditional side of 1970s Ethiopia with this deeply emotional recording.

Ketema Makonnen - 01 - Tizita (5:23)
Ketema Makonnen - 02 - Fano-Che Belew (4:23)
Ketema Makonnen - 03 - Bati (4:25)
Ketema Makonnen - 04 - Mela Mela (6:26)
Ketema Makonnen - 05 - Antchi Hoye (6:07)
Ketema Makonnen - 06 - Gele Beyi (2:47)
Ketema Makonnen - 07 - Endegena (4:29)
Ketema Makonnen - 08 - Ainama Konjo (4:14)
Ketema Makonnen - 09 - Negireshalehu (3:51)
Ketema Makonnen - 10 - Kibret Alem (2:52)
Ketema Makonnen - 11 - Gussumaye (4:17)
Ketema Makonnen - 12 - Amognegn (4:19)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Abrar Osman - Shama Bel [2014] [eritrea]

Abrar Osman - ኣይውረድ  Aiwured

Abrar Osman - 01 - Shama Bel (6:55)
Abrar Osman - 02 - Mieti Kab Mieti (6:02)
Abrar Osman - 03 - Dig Eritrea (5:45)
Abrar Osman - 04 - Yikdenena (7:41)
Abrar Osman - 05 - Tsebah (6:57)
Abrar Osman - 06 - Ayiwred (8:42)
Abrar Osman - 07 - Halew (7:09)
Abrar Osman - 08 - Baskta Himboba (5:43)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Ethiocolor - Ethiocolor [2014] [ethiopia]

         Ethiocolor is a cultural traditional band consisting of Kirar (a kind of lyre), Bass Kirar, Washint (flute), Kebero (traditional drums) and Massinqo. This band, led by traditional dancer Melaku Belay, is the cream of the crop of cultural musicians and dancers of the country. All of them share the common priority to represent the traditional styles in an accurate, lively and new way, as well as to spread their music all over the world.

      Since its inception in 2009, word has spread fast for this young group. They have already won a wide audience in Addis Abeba and through the country. Moreover, each member of Ethiocolor possesses extensive national and international experience. Musicians and dancers have collaborated with traditional music projects, but also with jazz, rock, fusion and hip-hop artists. All these experiences separate Ethiocolor from other traditional groups by giving their music a special “color”.

     “Our goal is not just to assemble the best traditional musicians and create another folk ensemble. Our unique vision is to demonstrate that the immense musical heritage of Ethiopia can be performed with a great degree of creativity while still maintaining its identity”, says Melaku Belay, leader and founder of the cultural group.

Ethiocolor Band at Festival EtnoSur (Spain)

Members of the band are: 

Yohannes Aferworq (flute), 
Anteneh Teklemariam (bass kirar), 
Nardos Tasfaw (chant/vocals), 
Dagim (dance), 
Endres Hassen (mesenqo), 
Fasika Hailu (kirar), 
Frehiwot (dance), 
Hawa (chant/vocals), 
Selamnesh Zemene (chant/vocals),
Tesfaye Taye (chant/vocals), 
Melaku Belay (dance), 
Misale Legesse (kebero), 
Zinash Tsegaye (dance).

Ethiocolor - 01 - Ante Gongarie [Selemnesh Zemene] (5:23)
Ethiocolor - 02 - Otai Ma na [Tokato Mena] (6:20)
Ethiocolor - 03 - Helle Loyo Helle loha [Hawa Talen] (4:32)
Ethiocolor - 04 - Mindjarie [Tesfaye Taye] (6:08)
Ethiocolor - 05 - Sekota [Wudie Tesfaw] (3:52)
Ethiocolor - 06 - Keremiela [Tesfaye Taye] (6:13)
Ethiocolor - 07 - Shimunmun [Selemnesh Zemene] (7:30)
Ethiocolor - 08 - Selel Abliyom [Mizan Tesfaye] (7:00)
Ethiocolor - 09 - Ayana Woga [Dereje Zemedu] (6:11)
Ethiocolor - 10 - Mali Malonayie [Tesfaye Taye & Kidane Haile] (5:26)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tilahun Gessesse - Nuriligne Hiwote (1st album) [1963] [ethiopia]

     The first album of the legendary Ethiopian singer Tilahun Gessesse that was released on 1963 for the first time released again.

Tilahun Gessesse - Ye Hiwote Hiwot

Tilahun Gessesse - 01 - Kerech satasredagn (7:55)
Tilahun Gessesse - 02 - Wubit wubit (7:09)
Tilahun Gessesse - 03 - Nuriligne hiwote (7:21)
Tilahun Gessesse - 04 - Siyagatim desta new (8:57)
Tilahun Gessesse - 05 - Bewubetua amira (5:31)
Tilahun Gessesse - 06 - Etu simish manew (5:20)
Tilahun Gessesse - 07 - Track 7 (9:07)
Tilahun Gessesse - 08 - Yachin lidj atinku (7:08)
Tilahun Gessesse - 09 - Lenat Ethiopia (3:21)

Sun Hop Fat - Sun Hop Fat [EP] [2013] [usa+eth]

          For years Sun Hop Fat has been at the forefront of introducing the unique sounds of Ethiopian Jazz to the masses. The music blends the rhythms of traditional American funk (James Brown, Parliament) and jazz (Yusef Lateef, Miles Davis) with harmonies and melodies from East Africa. The result is an up-tempo groove machine that borrows harmonies from the Middle East. The music focuses primarily on arrangements from the “golden era” of Ethiopian Jazz but includes original compositions as well. This all-star band includes standout musicians from other popular San Francisco Bay Area groups.

           Sun Hop Fat has developed a solid following throughout Northern California by playing a number of clubs and festivals. The ability of the band to captivate sit down jazz crowds as well as steal the spotlight in prime festival slots, encouraging crowds to get up and dance, makes the group flexible in its appeal and garners support from diverse audiences.


Sun Hop Fat @ DNA Lounge

Sun Hop Fat - 01 - Dewel (3:20)
Sun Hop Fat - 02 - Kasaleftkut Hulu (9:08)
Sun Hop Fat - 03 - Sabye (6:09)

Anthony Ant - Trumpet 
Dave Eagle - Congas 
Jeremy Greene - Tenor/Alto Saxophone 
Nicholas Gyorkos - Trombone 
Dii Martin - Guitar 
Harrison Murphy - Keyboards  
Christopher Noonan - Baritone Saxophone 
Daniel Silberstein - Percussion 
Randy Schwartz - Drums 
Jesse Sheehan - Tenor Saxophone 
Jesse Toews - Bass 

Sun Hop Fat just released their first album. You can find it here on bandcamp site > Sun Hop Fat debut album

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mahamud Mohammed Aggar - Worshilalo [2015] [eritrea]

Mahmud Mohammed (Aggar)- ሜረላ - Meerela

Mahamud Mohammed Aggar - 01 - Wonaadilee (5:17)
Mahamud Mohammed Aggar - 02 - Worshilalo (4:29)
Mahamud Mohammed Aggar - 03 - Selamat (5:42)
Mahamud Mohammed Aggar - 04 - Baadusereme (3:36)
Mahamud Mohammed Aggar - 05 - Wolat Gebaayil (5:29)
Mahamud Mohammed Aggar - 06 - Siraaro (6:03)
Mahamud Mohammed Aggar - 07 - Meerela (5:04)
Mahamud Mohammed Aggar - 08 - Sukana Kisha (4:55)
Mahamud Mohammed Aggar - 09 - Kiroe (5:08)
Mahamud Mohammed Aggar - 10 - Anjaa (4:06)