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Showing posts with label ethiopian reggae. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ethiopian reggae. Show all posts

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tommy T - The Prester John Sessions [2009] [usa+eth]






   R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D   






       For the past three years, Tommy T (Thomas T Gobena) has been the bass player for gypsy punk powerhouse Gogol Bordello, the New York City-based band known for their blend of Gypsy, punk, dub reggae, metal and flamenco. 









       Tommy was born and raised in Ethiopia and the knowledge of global rhythms he brings to Gogol’s sound has become part of their unclassifiable approach to music making. With the encouragement of his Gogol Bordello band mates, Tommy has produced his first solo effort, The Prester John Sessions, an aural travelogue that rages freely through the music and culture of Ethiopia.

      "In the 70s, funk, wah-wah pedals, and jazz had a huge impact on Ethiopian music," Tommy explains. "The Prester John Sessions will give people an idea about the musical diversity of Ethiopia, which includes influences and ideas borrowed from the sounds of the 70's with the added bonus of up-to-date production values."









       Tommy discovered the story of Prester John in Graham Hancock’s book The Sign and the Seal. “Hancock was looking for the Biblical Ark of the Covenant,” Tommy says. “His quest led him around the world, from Middle East to Europe and back to Ethiopia. While doing his research, Hancock discovered the legend of Prester John. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Prester John was an unknown Christian king with massive troops that got the attention of European kings. Prester John is the character I use to symbolize the man who will bring Ethiopian culture to the rest of the world.”

       To fulfill his vision, Tommy started digging through Ethiopian folk music, choosing melodies he could improvise on. He also wrote his own compositions based on traditional modes. “A lot of popular Ethiopian music is based on a 6/8 beat called chikchika, but there are also many other rhythms in Ethiopia that have their own unique characteristics. I play with The Abyssinian Roots Collective on the album. They are sometimes known as The ARC, which coincidentally ties into the Ark of the Covenant and the Prester John story. We’re mostly Ethiopian, so getting the music down was easy. I gave them the tunes, and then we improvised the arrangements so the music has an organic feel.”











       Tommy composed and produced the music, with his brother Henock contributing to the tunes “Brothers” and “East-West Express.” The tracks were written at Tommy’s home studio and cut live in a couple of studios around Washington, DC and overdubs were laid down in real time with a final mix by Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave, Gogol Bordello) that gave it the feel of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters jamming with Ethiopian godfathers The Imperial Bodyguard Orchestra. The music blends Ethiopian modes with dub reggae, funk, and jazz, for a sound that’s at once familiar and mysterious.

      “The Eighth Wonder” has a light, jazzy feel based on the chikchika rhythm, played in the style common to the Wollo province, home to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. “Much like the pyramids of Giza, much has been made over the 11 stone churches of Lalibela, often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder,” Tommy explains. “This track uses the chikchika beat, but expands it into other directions.” Tommy’s melodic bass weaves through the tune’s horn and Massinqo (an Ethiopian single-stringed instrument played like a violin) lines, while the drummer keeps the beat with a series of tom rolls complimenting the kick drum. Dub effects keep the instruments dancing in and out of the mix. “Beyond Fasiladas” references the Castle of the emperor Fasiladas in Gondar, Ethiopia’s capital in the 17th Century. It uses a fast, driving beat from Gondar and interpolates several traditional melodies. Massinqo, guitar and an energetic bass line give the tune a funky, relentless pulse. Setegne Setenaw plays the melody on Massinqo. “The Response” features vocals from Gigi and Tommy. It’s a love song with an almost unbearable sense of longing. Tommy plays acoustic guitar and bouzouki with a West African feel influenced by the music of Mali, although the melody is purely Ethiopian. “Eden” pays homage to the lush and raw landscapes of Ethiopia. Gigi’s wordless vocal is full of joy. The slow dubby rhythm and a muted blue flugelhorn give the track a timeless feel. “Oromo Dub (Cushitic dub)” is driven by Tommy’s phat bass riddim and revolves around traditional tunes that existed ages ago. Abdi Nuressa sings in Oromo, one of the many languages in Ethiopia, and his voice drifts through intergalactic dub space taking this ancient song into the future. The album’s ten tracks epitomize the Ethiopian ideal of Semena Worq - Wax and Gold. The wax is the surface of the music, bright and modern, with its jazzy, funky accents. The gold signifies the depth of tradition that gave birth to these sounds, nuggets culled from one of the oldest cultures on earth, presented by Tommy and his compatriots in all their shining beauty.

       Tommy T was born and raised in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa. “There was always music in our house,” Tommy recalls. “When I was five, my older brother Zelalem got an acoustic guitar from my father. By the time I was six I could pick up a guitar and play what my brothers were playing.

       Tommy had no intention of becoming a musician, but when his brother Henock moved to Washington DC, Tommy followed. “I looked up to him as a brother and a bass player. After he sent a copy of his first album to us in Ethiopia, I started playing acoustic guitar like a bass. When I came to the States, I got a real bass. There are over 200,000 Ethiopians in the DC metro area, so I was able to make a living playing in Ethiopian bands.”

       Tommy completed a degree while playing in bands three or four nights a week. “I played in Ethiopian bands, and then started a reggae band called ADOLA which also backed many well known Ethiopian artists such as Aster Aweke and Gigi to name a few. I was also interested in other styles of music including R&B, hip-hop, and neo-soul. I worked with Wayna [Wondwossen, recently nominated for a best urban performance Grammy for her song “Lovin’ U (Music)”] and produced a couple of tracks on her Moments of Clarity album with my friend Abegasu Shiota.” While collaborating on a project with guitarist Eran Tabib, he heard Gogol Bordello was looking for a bass player familiar with international grooves.

    His years with Gogol inspired Tommy to develop The Prester John Sessions, another band with a global outlook. The reggae band he and his friend Zedicus (Zakki Jawad) started in DC had evolved into The Abyssinian Roots Collective; they helped Tommy bring The Prester John Sessions to life. “I believe in music without boundaries,” Tommy says. “Music should be inclusive, not exclusive. We should use sounds from everywhere to create a universal vibe. The music business isn’t friendly to that kind of thing, but the people who hear it respond to it well. Gogol is a rock band, but the sound is global. People who love music know the best music is created without boundaries and limitations. The Prester John Sessions take that idea to the next level.”




01. Tommy T - Brothers (5:03)
02. Tommy T - The Call (4:04)
03. Tommy T - The Response (Featuring Gigi) (4:43)
04. Tommy T - The Eighth Wonder (6:51)
05. Tommy T - Oromo Dub (Cushitic Dub) (4:34)
06. Tommy T - East-West Express (4:21)
07. Tommy T - Tribute To A King (4:11)
08. Tommy T - Beyond Fasiladas (3:16)
09. Tommy T - September Blues (3:29)
10. Tommy T - Eden (Featuring Gigi) (5:53)
11. Tommy T - Lifers (Michael G Easy Star Remix feat. 
                          Eugene Hutz And Pedro Erazo) (2:06)



Monday, March 6, 2017

Dub Colossus - Addis Through The Looking Glass [2011] [ethiopia]





   R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D   










       Dub Colossus is a collective of Ethiopian musicians working with Western musicians fascinated by the richness of the Ethiopian sound. 










      
      A Town Called Addis ...was their striking debut in 2008 but this is better, probably thanks to their live concerts. 

       There's a strong reggae influence, but it's songs like the punchy Guragigna that stand out, with great vocals by "the Ethiopian Edith Piaf", Sintayehu Zenebe, underpinned by a piano ostinato and a muscular horn section with great sax solos.












Saturday, March 4, 2017

Baaro - Rhythm City [1997] [ethiopia]










          After fleeing their homeland of Ethiopia in the late '70s to avoid conflict with the Marxist government, a trio of reggae musicians made their way to the United States. Landing in Chicago, the three musicians began playing their African and Jamaican-flavored jams in reggae clubs around the city.

        Fronted by singer/guitarist Mulu Gessesse, the band consisted of Mulu's brother Zeleke Gessesse and close friend Meluka Retts.

      In 1980, the band assumed the name Dallol, and put together a demo tape. Dallol gained a sizable following in Chicago quickly with its distinct Ethiopian-flavored sound.

      The demo soon found its way all over the country, outside of the United States, across the Caribbean and into the hands of a certain famous family in Jamaica.

       "It was 1981, right after Bob (Marley) died," Mulu recalled. "Our tape made its way to Rita (Marley), and she asked us to go on down to Jamaica. That was our first contact with the Marleys."












            Contacts with the first family of reggae proved to be a good thing for Dallol. Rita Marley produced the band's first full-length album and helped the band out in a number of ways. Lodging and other commodities were provided to Dallol by the Marleys as the band made its tour of the islands.

         It wasn't long before the Marleys became more than contacts, with friendships forming between Dallol and Bob's son, Ziggy Marley.

"Ziggy was only 10 years old when we met him," Mulu explained. "As a matter of fact, he played his first show with us."

            Good ties with the Marleys continued, and soon Dallol was asked to tour with Ziggy's newly formed band "Ziggy and the Melody Makers." Dallol's Ethiopian and reggae roots served as a perfect backdrop to Ziggy's continuation of his father's style and heartfelt messages.

           In the late '80s, Dallol toured and recorded with Ziggy. The result of the combined effort was heard worldwide. One platinum and one gold album elevated Dallol to superstar status in the reggae industry.

         "That experience was great because it enabled us to go all over the world," Mulu said.

          After about five years with Marley, Dallol returned to its second home in Chicago. Included in the move were a couple line change ups and a change of name for the group. Upon the addition of three more members, including two female vocalists, Dallol changed its name to Baaro.

            Since moving back to Chicago, Baaro has made many national, as well as international, media appearances.

     Included in Baaro's impressive list of accomplishments are appearances on David Letterman, Soul Train, the NAACP Image Awards, BBC and the Arsenio Hall Show. Baaro's most recent television appearance was a slot on the Oprah Winfrey Show three weeks ago.

          The band has continued doing what it does best. Recording three CDs (one in 1986, 1991 and this year's "Rhythm City"), Baaro has greatly expanded its fan base, particularly in the Midwest.

         "Everywhere we go, we are getting very positive reactions, and they love our arrangements, melodies and harmonies," Mulu said. "Every new place we go to, they keep wanting us to come back. Our base has been expanding all the time. Colleges, especially, have responded very well. The last time we came to Ames, we had a wonderful party. The action and response was incredible. The same thing is happening everywhere we go."

         "Rhythm City" captures Baaro's long and eventful career by staying true to the sounds of Dallol but also adding depth with the addition of the newest members.

         Capturing the bands message of togetherness, love of all people and unity, the album also stays true to reggae roots.

      "I think the newest album reflects our experience," Mulu said. "You'll obviously hear reggae, and you'll also hear some of our Ethiopian background. It's a blend of Africa, Jamaica and urban-American music."

         The album draws on a number of musical influences, including Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, singers from Africa and South Africa, as well as pop melody influences from the Beatles.

        Being able to play music for a career has proven to be a fulfilling thing for Baaro.

       "Music gives me a medium for me to express my inner feelings," Mulu said. "Any time I get inspired about a certain idea or a certain feeling, I just go sit down and play my guitar. I'm able to transform that abstract thought into music. Seeing the finished product with the band and then recording and listening to it gives me an incredible feeling."




Baaro - 01 - Nanye (3:59)
Baaro - 02 - No More (4:25)
Baaro - 03 - Music (4:48)
Baaro - 04 - Ashema (3:11)
Baaro - 05 - My Only One Girl (4:08)
Baaro - 06 - I Ain't Got Nothing (4:39)
Baaro - 07 - Drift Away (4:28)
Baaro - 08 - Rhythm City (3:52)
Baaro - 09 - Ebolala (3:37)
Baaro - 10 - One Night Feeling (4:06)




Saturday, February 25, 2017

Seble Solomon - Kalehubet [2001] [ethiopia]












Seble Solomon




Seble Solomon - 01 - Yelijenete (5:36)
Seble Solomon - 02 - Kalehubet (6:03)
Seble Solomon - 03 - Mok Yelegnal (6:06)
Seble Solomon - 04 - Bet Yiquterew (8:11)
Seble Solomon - 05 - Yebekagnal (5:29)
Seble Solomon - 06 - Negabita / Dewako (8:17)
Seble Solomon - 07 - Akorah wey (5:26)
Seble Solomon - 08 - Min Derese Antega (5:26)
Seble Solomon - 09 - Selam (4:17)
Seble Solomon - 10 - Iskemeche (5:14)
Seble Solomon - 11 - Tematsigne (4:43)
Seble Solomon - 12 - Ke Shegawoch Ager (6:23)


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dallol - Land Of The Genesis [1985] [usa+eth]













Dallol - Reggae In The Moonlight




              After fleeing their homeland of Ethiopia in the late ’70s to avoid conflict with the Marxist government, a trio of reggae musicians made their way to the United States.
         Landing in Chicago, the three musicians began playing their African and Jamaican-flavored jams in reggae clubs around the city.
Fronted by singer/guitarist Mulu Gessesse, the band consisted of Mulu’s brother Zeleke Gessesse and close friend Meluka Retts.

           In 1980, the band assumed the name Dallol, and put together a demo tape. Dallol gained a sizable following in Chicago quickly with its distinct Ethiopian-flavored sound. The demo soon found its way all over the country, outside of the United States, across the Caribbean and into the hands of a certain famous family in Jamaica.

           “It was 1981, right after Bob (Marley) died,” Mulu recalled. “Our tape made its way to Rita (Marley), and she asked us to go on down to Jamaica. That was our first contact with the Marleys.”










    
           Contacts with the first family of reggae proved to be a good thing for Dallol. Rita Marley produced the band’s first full-length album and helped the band out in a number of ways. Lodging and other commodities were provided to Dallol by the Marleys as the band made its tour of the islands.

         It wasn’t long before the Marleys became more than contacts, with friendships forming between Dallol and Bob’s son, Ziggy Marley. “Ziggy was only 10 years old when we met him,” Mulu explained. “As a matter of fact, he played his first show with us.”

          Good ties with the Marleys continued, and soon Dallol was asked to tour with Ziggy’s newly formed band “Ziggy and the Melody Makers.” Dallol’s Ethiopian and reggae roots served as a perfect backdrop to Ziggy’s continuation of his father’s style and heartfelt messages.

         In the late ’80s, Dallol toured and recorded with Ziggy. The result of the combined effort was heard worldwide. One platinum and one gold album elevated Dallol to superstar status in the reggae industry.
“That experience was great because it enabled us to go all over the world,” Mulu said.

       After about five years with Marley, Dallol returned to its second home in Chicago. Included in the move were a couple line change ups and a change of name for the group. Upon the addition of three more members, including two female vocalists, Dallol changed its name to Baaro.




Zeleke GessesseBass, Vocals
Ruphael Wolde MariamDrums, Vocals, Cover
Dereje MekonnenKeyboards
Mulaku RettaKeyboards, Vocals
Abdul HakimLead Guitar
Asrat Aemro SellasiePercussion
Mulugetta GessesseRhythm Guitar

Executive-Producer – Rita Marley






A1Dallol - Selam (4:48)
A2Dallol - Genesis (4:16)
A3Dallol - Love Is Coming (4:16)
A4Dallol - Reggae In The Moonlight (4:40)

B1Dallol - Hoye Hoya (3:20)
B2Dallol - Sail Along (5:07)
B3Dallol - Nice Feelings (3:50)
B4Dallol - Ashkaroo (traditional song) (3:40)
B5Dallol - Mr. DJ (4:50)




Tuesday, January 24, 2017

v.a. - Ethiopian Reggae [ethiopia]











Haile Roots - Chew Lerasish (4:05)
Sami Dan - Anchi Yene (4:01)
Shewandagne Hailu - Kurat (5:33)
Getnet Demissie - Bihon (3:44)
Michael Melaku (Mike) - Dera (4:40)
Lidj abebaw - Ayteshign endalayesh (5:19)
Babby Ragga - Sewlesew Enihun (4:44)
Estifanos Getahun - Sew Le Sew (4:57)
Mike Solo - Habesha (4:30)
Ras Biruk - Rello (5:40)
Mieraf Assefa - Guadegnaye (4:50)
Enyachew Fancho ft Mesay Goa - Reggae Hawassa (5:48)
Aklilu Mekonen (Aki Man) - Sitakibet (6:46)
Mamila Lukas ft Sara T - Jerusalem (5:39)
Ras Abel - Rastafari callin' (5:16)
Ras Mule - Alehulesh (4:15)
Rasjany - Selamta (3:49)
Sydney Salmon - Never Been Colonized (4:35)
Yaddi Bojia - Hagere (5:00)
Zeleke Gessesse - Selam (5:05)





Friday, January 6, 2017

Bethelhem Dagnachew - Shiw Shiw [2004] [ethiopia]



   R  E  U  P  L  O  A  D   
















01. Bethelhem Dagnachew - Alchalkum (5:01)
02. Bethelhem Dagnachew - Chal Chal Yenie Fiker (4:55)
03. Bethelhem Dagnachew - Degmoh Naynie Metah (6:22)
04. Bethelhem Dagnachew - Eibo (5:05)
05. Bethelhem Dagnachew - Geday Neh (4:41)
06. Bethelhem Dagnachew - Kedamie Gebeya (5:07)
07. Bethelhem Dagnachew - Kelebeh Kehone (5:33)
08. Bethelhem Dagnachew - Menem Baymesleh (4:46)
09. Bethelhem Dagnachew - Shew Shew Bagerachen (5:35)
10. Bethelhem Dagnachew - Tew Lantem Aybej (5:36)
11. Bethelhem Dagnachew - Yefiker Abazie (5:17)






Thursday, November 24, 2016

Elias Assefa - Kelay [2015] [ethiopia]














Elias Assefa - Kelay





Elias Assefa - 01 - Séwunet (Being Human) (4:13)
Elias Assefa - 02 - Kélay (From Above) (5:50)
Elias Assefa - 03 - Yé Egzer Siel (God’s Painting) (6:56)
Elias Assefa - 04 - Zenaw (The News) (3:52)
Elias Assefa - 05 - Léka (It is Rather That) (5:14)
Elias Assefa - 06 - To ቶ (Symbol of Life) (4:00)
Elias Assefa - 07 - Gize (Time) (4:26)
Elias Assefa - 08 - Yenéfse Erkata (My Soul’s Satisfaction) (5:07)
Elias Assefa - 09 - Léwuletash (Tribute to You) (4:28)
Elias Assefa - 10 - Ebid New Sime (They Call me a Mad Man) (5:04)
Elias Assefa - 11 - Betsélot (With Prayer) (5:42)
Elias Assefa - 12 - Tibeb Ze Solomon (Solomon’s Wisdom) (5:32)
Elias Assefa - 13 - Sus (Addiction) (5:39)
Elias Assefa - 14 - Aman be (In Peace) (4:48)




Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Jano Band - Live Performance [2016] [ethiopia]











       Setting the trend for the Jano sound is a new synthesis which injects Ethiopian music into the genre of rock to create hot and harmoniously wild sounding of Ethiopian rock. Behind it is Jano, a band consisting two female vocalists, two male lead vocalists and six musicians who play bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, keyboards and a drum. The two things the players have in common is that all of them are in their twenties and all share a single dream – to become the first international rock phenomena from Ethiopia.

         The man behind the making of Jano is Addis Gassesse, a renowned Ethiopian music manager who shuttles between Addis Abeba, New York and Kingston, Jamaica. Now Addis wants to get Jano play at international concerts and compete with any rock band on the world stage.






Jano Band - Darigne




       Jano has a unique way of showing the flare of its members, who, some of them came from different gospel choirs. The fusion of Ethiopian music with Rock is a complete detachment from the long tradition of music norm. But the songs are partly written by the band members themselves and partly by Yilma Gabreab, a popular Ethiopian song writer. The result is the first ever rock band in Ethiopia.

       While some of the band members have been heavily influenced by rock stars such as the Rolling Stones and Metallica, others have been influenced by jazz, pop and reggae. This diverse background of the members can be clearly seen in the unique sound of their music that takes its nuances from an eclectic assortment of styles that, deep down, didn’t abandon an Ethiopian flavor.









Jano Band are:

Kirubel Tesfaye (Band Leader and synthesizer)
Michael Hailu (Musical Director and Lead Guitar)
Dibekulu Tafesse (vocals)
Haleluya Tekletsadik (vocals)
Hewan Gebrewold (vocals)
Hailu Merga (vocals)
Yohannes Mekonen (drums)
Daniel Negash (bass)






Jano Band - 01 - Andnen (ft. Pamfalon) (6:14)
Jano Band - 02 - Darigne (3:35)
Jano Band - 03 - Yinegal (4:09)
Jano Band - 04 - Gude (Live) (6:20)
Jano Band - 05 - Mariye (Live) (6:28)
Jano Band - 06 - Mehed Mehed (Live) (7:09)
Jano Band - 07 - Gara Sir New Bete (Live) (3:50)
Jano Band - 08 - Ayrak (Live) (6:50)