Blogtrotters

Showing posts with label hip-hop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hip-hop. 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)



Sunday, March 19, 2017

K'naan - The Dusty Foot Philosopher [2005] [somalia]






   R  E  U  P  L  O  U  D   










         Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, K’naan spent his childhood in the district of Wardhiigleey (”The Lake of Blood”) during the Somali Civil War, which began in 1991. His aunt, Magool, was one of Somalia’s most famous singers. K’naan’s grandfather, Haji Mohamed, was a poet. K’naan is also a Muslim. His name, K’naan, means “traveller” in the Somali language.











      

   K’naan’s father, Abdi, left the country, along with many other intellectuals to settle in New York City and work as a cab driver. He mailed money home to his family. As the civil war continued and the situation in Somalia continued to deteriorate, K’naan’s mother, Marian Mohamed, petitioned the United States embassy for an exit visa. In 1991, on the last day the US embassy remained open as the government of Mohamed Siad Barre collapsed their visa was approved, and they boarded the last commercial flight out of the country.

     They joined relatives in Harlem, New York City, before moving to the Toronto, Ontario neighbourhood of Rexdale, where there was a large Somali Canadian community. His family still lives there. In his new country, K’naan began learning English, some through hip hop albums by artists like Nas and Rakim. Despite speaking no English, the young K’naan taught himself hip hop and rap diction, copying the lyrics and style phonetically. He then also began rapping. He dropped out of school in grade ten to travel for a time, rapping at open mic events, and eventually returned to Toronto.




       K’naan became a friend and associate of Canadian promoter, Sol Guy, who helped him secure a gig speaking before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1999, where K’naan performed a spoken word piece criticizing the UN for its failed aid missions to Somalia. One of the audience members, Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, was so impressed by the young MC’s performance and courage that he invited him to contribute to his 2001 album Building Bridges, a project through which K’naan was able to tour the world.



This project lead to his work at other UN events, as well as the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Halifax Pop Explosion. It also helped him meet Canadian producer Jarvis Church and his Track & Field team in 2002, who produced his debut album The Dusty Foot Philosopher, which was released in 2005 to critical acclaim. 


In 2006, it won the Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year, and was nominated for the inaugural Polaris Music Prize. It also won the BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music in the newcomer category for 2007. The Dusty Foot Philosopher will be re-released and re-packaged as a “Deluxe Edition” featuring new mixes and a bonus DVD in the United States (and various international territories) by the emerging media company and record label iM (Interdependent Media, Inc.) in 2008.

       Since then, he has been on tour promoting his album and working on his follow-up release, “Troubadour,” his debut album for new label A&M/Octone Records. He has also been working with artists like Nelly Furtado, Mos Def, The Roots, Dead Prez, and Pharoahe Monch on tours such as Live and Breedlove Odyssey. He also collaborated with Damian Marley on the “Welcome to Jamrock” touring session.

      In 2005, the Canadian music scene featured a low-key feud between K’naan and k-os, one of the most prominent Canadian hip-hop artists. Following the release of the music video for the song Soobax, which was shot by K’naan and a film crew in Kenya, k-os released a track B-Boy Stance attacking K’naan : “They took cameras to Africa for pictures to rhyme / Over; Oh, yes, the great pretenders [...] Religious entertainers who want to be life savers.” Though the feud never became high-profile, with K’naan expressing confusion at the attack and respect for k-os, he nonetheless responded with the mixtape Revolutionary Avocado which argued “You the all-knowing with a beer bottle / Wishing you was Plato and me Aristotle? / …Suburban negro turned hip-hop hero / Is there a reason he really hates me, though?” — a rebuttal CBC’s Matthew McKinnon called “cold-cocking the champ”. He recently released The Dusty Foot on the Road, a collection of recording made during his recent world tour on Wrasse Records.

       His second studio album, Troubadour, was released on February 24, 2009 on A&M/Octone Records, and will be distributed through Universal Music Group worldwide. The album’s first single, “ABC’s”, was released to radio in late 2008. K’naan has featured in several video games such as “Madden NFL 09? with his song ABC’s, and “Fifa 06? with his song soobax. The song “If Rap Gets Jealous”, a rerecording of a track of the same name - with different verses - from The Dusty Foot Philosopher, features Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett. K’naan was also the first featured artist on X3, a collaborative project between CBC Radio 3, Exclaim! magazine and aux.tv to promote new Canadian music.


Rapper K'Naan is one of the rapidly rising stars of world music. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, he now lives in Canada, but his experiences as a refugee and growing up in a war zone inform his lyrics with a vivid vivacity. 

He's a charismatic performer on stage - as witnessed last weekend in Glastonbury - and his words have a haunting poetry: "Muslims, Jews and Christians war, no one's left to praise the Lord". K'Naan's admirers include many who are not usually interested in rap music.


This strong album includes live performances captured in both Djibouti and New York, although he should find himself a better djembe drum player to improve things musically.




01. K'naan - Wash It Down (2:15)
02. K'naan - Soobax (3:42)
03. K'naan - What's Hardcore? (3:36)
04. K'naan - My Old Home (3:06)
05. K'naan - Moment (0:10)
06. K'naan - I Was Stabbed By Satan (3:50)
07. K'naan - My God (0:22)
08. K'naan - Smile (4:03)
09. K'naan - If Rap Gets Jealous (4:18)
10. K'naan - The Dusty Foot Philosopher (3:56)
11. K'naan - Strugglin' (4:25)
12. K'naan - In The Beginning (3:21)
13. K'naan - Hoobaale (5:05)
14. K'naan - The African Way (feat. Mwafrika) (4:20)
15. K'naan - Voices In My Head (4:00)
16. K'naan - Boxing My Shadow (4:29)
17. K'naan - For Mohamound (Soviet) (0:32)
18. K'naan - Until The Lion Learns To Speak (8:55)


Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Lalibelas - The Lalibelas with Harry James Angus [2015] [aus+eth]












       The Lalibelas are led by bassist and composer Yoseph H. Bekele who arrived in Australia in 2012 from Ethiopia. He has toured internationally with leading East African musicians, including Aster Aweke, Samuel Yirga, Mahmoud Ahmed, and has been a mainstay of the Ethiopian music scene, having played bass and guitar with a huge variety of singers. 












     The Lalibelas bring together talented Australian and Ethiopian musicians, that perform Yoseph’s Ethio-Jazz and funk compositions. Yoseph developed a strong friendship with Harry James Angus through MAV’s Visible Music Mentoring Program in 2013 and are continuing to collaborate musically. 










Guitar - Adam Halliwell 
Saxophone - Solomon Sisay 
Drums - Zelalem Negatu 
Baritone Saxophone - Macks Dowling 
Harmonica - Chris Maunders
Bass - Yoseph Hailemariam 
Keyboard - Stephen Khlentzos 
Trumpet - Harry James Angus



       This recording captures the raw sound of The Lalibelas, created in a few short but high-energy hours full of improvisation, twists and turns, and no overdubs or turning back.





The Lalibelas with Harry James Angus - 1. Awdamet (4:40)
The Lalibelas with Harry James Angus - 2. That Song (4:51)
The Lalibelas with Harry James Angus - 3. Atamba Sil (7:26)
The Lalibelas with Harry James Angus - 4. Kendegena (5:48)
The Lalibelas with Harry James Angus - 5. Selam (8:32)





Thursday, December 29, 2016

Lij Michael (Faf) - Zaray Yehun Nege [2015] [ethiopia]













Lij Michael Faf - Zaraye Yehun Nege




Lij Michael (Faf) - 01 - Zemenay (3:40)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 02 - Techawechi Bati (4:11)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 03 - Meketash (3:44)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 04 - Satenaw (4:12)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 05 - Esheruru (3:34)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 06 - Yesew Mena (3:42)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 07 - Ye Sheger Lej (3:52)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 08 - Anchis Lene (3:35)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 09 - Zaray Yehun Nege (4:06)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 10 - Zenach - Remix (4:01)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 11 - Agerem Endi (3:34)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 12 - Arada Le Arada (4:32)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 13 - Addis Lets Rock (4:13)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 14 - Wey Addis Abeba (4:20)
Lij Michael (Faf) - 15 - Zenach (4:23)



Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Kafa Beanz - Andromeda: The Chronicles Of Blackopia, Volume 1 [2008] [usa+eth]












        The Kafa Beanz is a collective of solo artists who blend their Ethiopian culture and music with hip hop, soul, and alternative musical textures. The name “Kafa Beanz” is a play on words.  If one looks at a map of Ethiopia, there is the Kafa region where coffee is known to originate. Coffee was “discovered” by the Portuguese in Ethiopia in the middle ages.  Coffee is the primary export of Ethiopia to this day and considered the country’s most valuable export. This group of young artists, primarily of Ethiopian origin, wanted to express that the true value of Ethiopia is in the people, thus the name Kafa Beanz. 

        The Kafa Beanz formed in 2007 when a group of accomplished Ethiopian-American musicians, producers and vocalist who have been longtime fans of each other’s respective work decided to join forces. Their first project as a collective is entitled “Andromeda: The Chronicles of Blackopia  Vol. 1.”  The project’s title pays homage to Princess Andromeda who, according to Greek Mythology, was the daughter of Cassiopeia and Cepheus, the king of Ethiopia.






Gabriel Teodros - "Tizita"




          The Kafa Beanz consists of lead vocalists B Sheba(rapper /singer) and Burntface (rapper/producer) and is rounded out by Wayna (singer/songwriter), Gabriel Teodros (rapper), AP (rapper/singer) and various Special Guest Appearances including Hermela Mulatu (singer), daughter of Ethiopian Jazz Musician Mulatu Astatke.

        The Kafa Beanz is a group of solo artists who share a passion for Africa and a desire to expose their music to the world. Four of the five members are of Ethiopian origin, and the exotic sounds of East Africa are evident in their music.









        Despite having a sonic texture heavily influenced by 60s and 70s era Ethiopian Jazz music, The Kafa Beanz have a universal sound that has often been compared to The Fugees, Black Eyed Peas and Outkast. The Kafa Beanz effortlessly blends soulful vocal harmonies and poignant lyrics over an eclectic mixture of classic hip hop and futuristic world music. 









       Each member is an accomplished artist in their own right with their own respective fan bases. Their collective professional experience and talents make for a powerful and versatile combination that can rock a party crowd or tantalize a jazzy lounge or café. In a time when the traditional music industry paradigm is crashing in on itself, and genres are being disregarded, The Kafa Beanz are poised to be the future of world music.




The Kafa Beanz - 01 - Andromeda (1:45)
Wayna, Burntface - 02 - Let It Go (5:04)
Burntface, AP, B Sheba, Wayna - 03 - IRock (2:53)
Burntface, B Sheba, AP - 04 - AA++ (2:28)
B Sheba, Burntface, AP - 05 - Arada  (4:15)
AP, Wayna - 06 - Rebel (2:58)
B Sheba - 07 - Babylon Blues (4:35)
Burntface, B Sheba - 08 - History (3:05)
Wayna, Burntface - 09 - Love's Fool (3:24)
B Sheba, Hermela Mulatu, Burntface, Gabriel Teodros - 10 - Hope (4:43)
Burntface - 11 - Fly Away (3:45)
Burntface, B Sheba, Malik (30), Texx - 12 - Diaspora (3:41)
Gabriel Teodros, B Sheba - 13 - Tizita (4:07)
Wayna - 14 - Final Transmition (3:44)





Monday, October 17, 2016

Black Jesus Experience - Migration [2014] [aus+eth]











       BLACK JESUS EXPERIENCE (BJX) is an eight piece band playing an irresistibly danceable blend of traditional Ethiopian song and 21st Century groove. With backgrounds as diverse as the 5 countries the members of BJX hail from, their music reflects the multicultural vibrancy of the band’s hometown, Melbourne, Australia.

       Singer Enushu Taye began entertaining her local community as a child in Addis Ababa. Forced to leave Ethiopia, Enushu migrated to Australia bringing hauntingly beautiful compositions inspired by her remarkable life story and the unique vocal traditions of Ethiopia. Enushu is joined on vocals by poetic giant and lyrical miracle Mr Monk, Zimbabwe born and Outback bred.





Black Jesus Experience - ETHIOBOP






        When not touring BJX run a weekly session at cultural hub The Horn creating new songs live on stage featuring guest artists from all walks of life. The comfort BJX has with this practice lies in the improvising traditions of that feed BJX including Hip Hop, Jazz, Azmari and Funk.

        They have recently released their 5th studio album, a collaboration with their long time mentor, the inventor of Ethio-Jazz: Mulatu Astatke. The album Cradle of Humanity was recorded and mixed across 3 continents and completed at the end of their East Africa tour in 2015, including performances at MTN Bushfire Festival (Swaziland), AZGO Festival (Mozambique) and African Union Expo (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia).

       The rhymes and chimes of Black Jesus Experience deliver the power and beauty of Africa through the vocal prism of Hip-Hop and freedom of Funk.



Black Jesus Experience - 01 - Smile (3:31)
Black Jesus Experience - 02 - Africa (4:43)
Black Jesus Experience - 03 - Bati (3:52)
Black Jesus Experience - 04 - Migration (6:12)
Black Jesus Experience - 05 - Ethio Bop (5:23)
Black Jesus Experience - 06 - Ichilalo (4:25)
Black Jesus Experience - 07 - Mother Earth (4:35)
Black Jesus Experience - 08 - Gimash Akarley (3:19)
Black Jesus Experience - 09 - After (4:47)
Black Jesus Experience - 10 - BB (5:09)



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Abbush Zallaqaa - Jaala Jiloo [2013] [ethiopia]











Abbush Zallaqaa - Ee Malawwee




Abbush Zallaqaa - 01 - Jaala Jiloo (6:10)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 02 - Mappenzii (6:13)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 03 - Fullaanneey (6:01)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 04 - Na’baarsisin (4:53)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 05 - Ee Malawwee (6:57)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 06 - Na’baarbaadin (4:42)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 07 - Heellemmaa (6:07)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 08 - Sila Jiraattee (5:37)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 09 - Hinandaa (6:06)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 10 - Guyyaa Suni (6:23)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 11 - Mala-Mali (5:32)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 12 - Agarttaan (5:14)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 13 - Ashamitu (4:32)
Abbush Zallaqaa - 14 - Amoo Tee (5:16)



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Abdi Nuressa - [2009] - Irree Aadaa [usa+ethiopia]










             Another rising star is the Washington-based Oromo singer Abdi Nuressa. The 34-year-old singer-songwriter is a breath of fresh air, combining love, politics and empowerment. 

          Born in the Western part of Oromia region and brought up in Addis Ababa, Abdi emigrated to the US as a teenager. He was naturally influenced by the different cultures to which he was exposed but has remained true to his roots, as clearly seen in his music. He kicked off his singing career by performing cover versions of old Oromo classics such as those of Ali Birra. His debut album, Iree Adda, was released at the end of July 2009, marking his arrival on the music scene. The album, bearing an English subtitle The Power of Culture, can be seen as a political statement and an expression of the longing to return to his roots. The strong and energetic rhythms, taken from the Oromo tradition, are mingled in a subtle way with the sounds of reggae, funk, folk and hip-hop. 





Abdi Nuressa - Ayyaana Laalattuu



      One song in particular on that album, 'Ayyaana Laalattu' (Afan Oromo for 'opportunist'), put Abdi Nuressa on the map. Crossing the language barrier, the song was a big hit both in Ethiopia and abroad, among people who speak the language and those who don't. It proved the star's argument that "if we Oromo artists can deliver quality music, the language can never be a barrier, especially in our time."




Abdi Nuressa - 01 - Nutuu Laafe (4:50)
Abdi Nuressa - 02 - Ee Sobaan Wallolle (5:26)
Abdi Nuressa - 03 - Qotee Bulaa (4:32)
Abdi Nuressa - 04 - Utuman Sijaaladhuu (4:05)
Abdi Nuressa - 05 - Tokkummaatu Wayyaa (6:24)
Abdi Nuressa - 06 - Yaa Raahaa (6:05)
Abdi Nuressa - 07 - Sinbirree Ta'ee (3:58)
Abdi Nuressa - 08 - Wal-argaan Hinoolu (5:01)
Abdi Nuressa - 09 - Shaggoyee Xabanna (4:39)
Abdi Nuressa - 10 - Guyyaa Gammachuu (6:14)
Abdi Nuressa - 11 - Argee Laalee Laalee (5:58)
Abdi Nuressa - 12 - Ayyaana Laalattuu (4:48)
Abdi Nuressa - 13 - Bareeduu Baadiyaa (4:52)