Showing posts with label jazz vocal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jazz vocal. Show all posts

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Kirubel Assefa - Dimtsepia [2017] [ethiopia]

 Kirubel Assefa Kebede is an Ethiopian musician who has been residing in the US and performing and perfecting his craft for over 20 years. From the early days of his childhood in Ethiopia, it was apparent that Kirubel had a keen awareness of music and rhythm. Long before his formal education at St. Joseph in Addis Abeba began, Kirubel enjoyed using eating and cooking utensils as drum sticks to create sound, showing an affinity for and love of music early on. His first formal musical training was on a school drum set during his elementary years, and he eventually performed regularly with the St Joseph School Band. Over time, his musical fluidity has expanded beyond drums to include the rhythm of the bass and the bubbling sound of the keyboards.

After immigrating to the United States, Kirubel continued his training and musical education at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, CA and began to hone his skills in arranging and composing music for film and movies. With extensive exposure to the dynamic cultural & musical melting pot of Los Angeles, Kirubel played with bands across numerous musical genres, including Afro-Cuban, Reggae, and Funk bands.

Kirubel Assefa

He acted in the semi-autobiographical independent film entitled “Journey to Lasta” (2004) directed by Wondwossen Dikran in which he portrayed an Ethiopian musician struggling to survive in Los Angeles. He composed most of the songs for the movie which also featured his band “Lasta Sound”.  Kirubel also served as sound designer for a number of commercial products and composed the music for the IMAX documentary entitled “Mystery of the Nile” (2005).

As musical director, arranger, and performer, he has worked with the biggest names in Ethiopian music such as, Mahmoud Ahmed, Gigi, Aster Aweke, Tewodros Tadesse and the late Dr. Telahun Gessesse

Kirubel tours regularly with many internationally known artists.


Dimtsepia, is the title of Kirubels first solo project. Dimtsepia, as a body of work, is a celebration of Ethiopian culture.  The word is a contraction of dimtse (the Amharic word for sound) and Ethiopia. On the recording, Kirubel plays bass, keyboards, guitar (1 song) as well as arranging the horn parts. With strong roots in jazz as a discipline, Kirubel weaves the traditional melodies of his homeland around complex rhythms creating a brand of world fusion for the 21st century.

While the music was written and composed by Kirubel, lyrics on several songs were written by respected lyricist and musician Yonas Mulatu. The first single will be “Ye Ethiopia Lij” meaning “Child of Ethiopia” sung by Fitsum Mahedere. Tsedenia Gebremarkos, known for her works on Real World Records with the band Dub Collusus sings on two tracks: “Kokobe” and “Tesmamye”

Tsegaye B/ Selassie who is the front man  from Lasta sound sung "Maraki".  This release will also introduce an up and coming singer, Teklish, who is destined to become the voice of a new generation. The horn section on the recording includes Kumasi Washington on Saxophone, Ryan Porter on trombone and Chris Gray on Trumpet.

Kirubel Assefa - 01 - Tesmameye (4:26)
Kirubel Assefa - 02 - Ye Meskel Wef (5:03)
Kirubel Assefa - 03 - Ye Ethiopia Lij (4:32)
Kirubel Assefa - 04 - Dimtsepia (4:05)
Kirubel Assefa - 05 - Addis Lij (4:52)
Kirubel Assefa - 06 - Kokebe (5:37)
Kirubel Assefa - 07 - Ethio Jazz (5:02)
Kirubel Assefa - 08 - Webit (5:49)
Kirubel Assefa - 09 - Maraki (4:41)
Kirubel Assefa - 10 - Tana (5:48)

    Holding true to the layered arrangements of the outstanding Ethiopian bands of the 70’s and 80’s, the sound is infused with contemporary elements. By collaborating with some of the best voices singing in Ethiopian music today, the plan is to fully exploit each single in its own right. A video has been shot in Addis to promote and expose the song “Ye Ethiopia Lij.” The story line follows a young Ethiopian who has been sent to the city to help support the family in the country. It captures a slice of life often overlooked but a reality that should be recognized and ultimately celebrated.

Kirubel Assefa  - Bass, Keyboards (All tracks) Guitar (Track 4)
Teferi Assefa - Drums, (Track 2, 3, & 5) Percussion (all tracks)
Johnny Blackman - Drums (Track 9)
Reginald Spivey - Drums (Tracks 1, 4, 6, 7, 8 & 10)
Yoseph Ermias - Guitar (Track 2, 5 & 8)
Zakki Jawad - Guitar (Track 3)
Huit Kilos - Guitar (Tracks 1, 5, 6 & 8)
Michael McTagger - Guitar (Tracks 3, 7, 9 & 10)
Kamasi Washington - Saxophone ( All Tracks except Track 1)
Ryan Porter - Trombone (All Tracks except Track 1)
Cris Gray - Trumpet (All Tracks except Track 1)

Teklish Sisay (Track 2 & 8)
Tsedenia Gebremarkos (Tracks 1 & 6)
Fitsum Mahadere (Tracks 3 & 5)
Tsegaye Berhanu Selassie (Track 9)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Wayna - The Expats [2013] [usa-ethiopia]

   R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D   

       It has been said that Ethiopian-born, singer/songwriter Wayna possesses a voice that is as sweet and pure as it is honest and passionate. This young talent’s love for music started as a child, when she starred in theater productions like “Annie,” and “Damn Yankees” and toured with a children’s musical review company. Wayna went on to hone her vocal talents as a young adult by absorbing the works of her favorite artists, including Minnie Riperton, Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder, and Donny Hathaway.

Wayna - Daydream

       While in college, Wayna was crowned Miss Black Unity of the University of Maryland in 1995, earning a one year tuition scholarship and special honors for “Best Talent” and “Best Response to Question” at the 17th annual pageant. The following year, she founded a gospel quartet and performed with the group at the World Famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY, where they placed as finalists in the Amateur Night competition. She traveled with the critically acclaimed University of Maryland Gospel Choir and regularly performed at churches and gospel showcases throughout the East coast.

           After earning a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in English and Speech Communication from the University of Maryland, Wayna began her professional career as a Writer in the White House for the Clinton administration. But soon, the pull to realize her dream as a recording artist would prove too great. She left to concentrate on her music full-time. 

    Since then, Wayna has collaborated with legendary studio icon/producer Bill Laswell, with critically and comercially hailed producer Eran Tabib, Jive Records producer, Veit Renn, and former Touch of Jazz standout, Kev Brown. She is a featured vocalist/co-writer on on the Sly and Robbie album, Version Born released by Palm Pictures and also featuring contributions from Killah Priest, Black Thought, and N’dea Davenport. She’s also served as a featured vocalist and writer on a number of independent projects for artists, including W. Ellington Felton, Kenn Starr, Kev Brown, Cy Young, and Tamara Wellons.

       Unlike Wayna's jazzy neo-soul albums Moments of Clarity, Book 1 and Higher Ground (which earned her a Grammy nod for "Lovin You (Music)"), her latest release, The Expats, explores the Ethiopian-born singer-songwriter's desire to sonically travel, employing greater world beat influences while drawing on unexpected sides of her voice. 

     Standout opening track "Yo Yo" shows off her dreamy melodic vocals against African beats, revealing that although she's labeled a progressive R&B artist, she would shine in more rock-based genres, too; on the theatrical "Freak Show," her crazy range soars to operatic levels. There are moments where Wayna's flawlessly executed vocals sound strident, making one miss the sultry soul she showcased on previous releases, like "I Don't Want to Wait," a track on which uncooperative production aims itself in too many directions, ultimately working against itself. Overall, Wayna has an innate ability to enrich each song with atmosphere, making The Expats a sweeping global affair: the songs take you to the Sahara desert ("Echo") and the lush plains of Jamaica ("Amazing"), all the while bringing something to music that is too special to ignore.

01. Wayna - Yo Yo (5:44)
02. Wayna - Time Will Come (feat. Emperor Haile Selassie) (4:44)
03. Wayna - Echo (4:28)
04. Wayna - Amazing (4:01)
05. Wayna - I Don't Wanna Wait (4:25)
06. Wayna - Freak Show Intro (feat. Chris Rouse) (0:43)
07. Wayna - Freak Show (4:25)
08. Wayna - Long as You Know (feat. Setgn Satenaw) (5:17)
09. Wayna - Send It Away (feat. Frederic Yonnet) (4:42)
10. Wayna - Holy Heathen (feat. Naz Tana) (6:00)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Nasambu + Kibrom - Peace, Love and Mercy [2016] [ep] [ethiopia]

       The 2016 debut EP from Jazz/Classical duo, Nasambu + Kibrom, Peace, Love and Mercy, is a carefully sculpted 3-song vision of jazzy elegance, three years in the making. Starting with the release of Selam (Peace), as a single and music video in 2014, the EP was entirely recorded and filmed in Los Angeles, CA. Both artists are solo musicians in their own right, and also members of the internationally acclaimed AfroSoul band, Nasambu and The Mystic Nomads, but that very first time they wrote a song together, it came into being instantaneously and with such ease. A complete song formed in a few short minutes, and thus they became the duo, Nasambu + Kibrom.

    A virtuoso composer and pianist, Kibrom Birhane creates the fluid musical soundscape for Nasambu’s lyricism and soaring melodies to emerge as a blend of soulful Classical and Jazz tones, combining Ethiopian and Western scales with poetry sung in English, Swahili and Amharic. Mercy, the second track, has a catchy syncopated groove that lyrically speaks to the large waves of mass migration sweeping across the globe in our time, depicting the universal hope of finding that mythical city in the sun where all the people sing as one, and ‘the glory of the light shines down on everyone’.

Nasambu & Kibrom - Mercy 
(Official Jazz Single 2016)

      The final single released August 2016 in conjunction with the EP, Take Your Time, is a sweeping, sensual love song, where the singer beckons her beloved to take his time as they carefully develop a love that is strong enough to build lasting legacies and weather any storm.

Nasambu + Kibrom - 01 - Take Your Time (4:46)
Nasambu + Kibrom - 02 - Peace, Love and Mercy (2:59)
Nasambu + Kibrom - 03 - Selam (5:18)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Aster Aweke - Kabu [1989] [ethiopia]

   R  E  U  P  L  O  A  D  

       This Ethiopian beauty's Aster and Kabu albums show why she’s sometimes been dubbed the “African Aretha Franklin.”


Aster Aweke - Tchewata

        There’s no mistaking Aster Aweke’s primary influences. Listen, for example, to her early ’90s albums Aster and Kabu, with their Memphis-style horn section, soulful keyboards and crackling drums, and it’s immediately apparent why she’s sometimes been dubbed the “African Aretha Franklin.” Lady Soul, along with the Godfather, James Brown, and vocally versatile jazz singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, loom largely in her roots, her deep R&B/funk groove a reminder that bridges are meant to be crossed. Aweke doesn’t leave the traditional behind by any means; she respects it, she draws from it, but she’s never beholden to it.

       And then there’s that voice, as supple and mystifying an instrument as has ever been. Simultaneously tamed and wild, its flights of fancy are wondrous things. You can’t help but be awed.

      Aweke was born in Gondar, Ethiopia, some time between the late ’50s and 1961, depending on which account you believe. She grew up in the capital city of Addis Ababa and began singing as a teen, working with several groups, most notably the Roha Band. As Ethiopia entered a period of unrest following the death of iconic leader Haile Selassie, Aweke left for the United States. She became increasingly popular within the Ethiopian community in the States, performing in restaurants and clubs, particularly in her adopted home of Washington, D.C., one of the largest Ethiopian expat communities in the country.

    Aweke signed to the small Triple Earth label in 1989, and the two aforementioned albums were then picked up by Columbia Records, which had high hopes for her commercial potential in the West. The sales didn’t pan out but Aweke has continued to record and tour—her 1995 Live In London CD is an excellent primer that displays her charismatic appeal to the fullest.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Meklit Hadero - On a day like this.. [2010] [usa-ethiopia]

   R E U P L O A D   

Meklit Hadero - Float and Fall

       Meklit Hadero, known simply as "Meklit", is a singer and songwriter based in San Francisco, California. She is known for her soulful performing style, and for combining jazz, folk, and East African influences in her music. Born in Ethiopia, she was raised in the U.S. and attended college at Yale, where she studied political science.

       Shortly after graduation, Meklit moved to San Francisco and became immersed in the city's thriving arts scene. "Meklit is an artistic giant in the early stages," wrote a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle after witnessing an early performance in the city's Mission District. "She sings of fragility, hope and self-empowerment, and exudes all three. What's irresistible, above all, is her cradling, sensuous, gentle sound. She is stunning."

        Named a TED Global Fellow in 2009, Meklit has served as an artist-in-residence at New York University, the De Young Museum, and the Red Poppy Art House. Currently a fellow of the Wildflowers Institute, Meklit has also completed musical commissions for the San Francisco Foundation and for theatrical productions staged by Brava! For Women in the Arts. She is the founder of the Arba Minch Collective, a group of Ethiopian artists in diaspora devoted to nurturing ties to their homeland through collaborations with both traditional and contemporary artists there. 

     As a Senior TED Fellow since 2011 , she co-founded the Nile Project with Egyptian ethno-musicologist Mina Girgis and has since participated in 2 artist residencies (Aswan, 2013 and Uganda in 2014) uniting musicians from 11 countries all along the Nile Basin.

       Meklit has released five records to date. The first was a self-produced and released eight-song EP entitled Eight Songs (2008). The second , her first full-length LP, On a Day Like This... released to wide critical acclaim in 2010 , was recorded at San Francisco's Closer Studios and produced by Eric Moffat and Unsound Recording. Hailed by Filter magazine for "[combining] New York jazz with West Coast folk and African flourishes, all bound together by Hadero's beguiling voice.". It won Meklit feature stories by NPR, PBS, and National Geographic. The San Francisco Chronicle called her " an artistic giant in the making " . She then ventured into a creative collaboration called CopperWire , along with two hip emcees also from the Ethiopian diaspora , Gabriel Teodros and Burntface . Together they created the first hip hop space opera , "Earthbound" which hit #5 in CMJ's hiphop charts . A complete change came with the 2012 release of her extraordinary harmonic duets with Oakland blues and soul crooner Quinn DeVeaux, simply titled Meklit & Quinn. The duo covered terrain as diverse as Arcade Fire (their version of "Tunnels" left many speechless with its simple beauty) , Lou Reed , Neil Young and Stevie Wonder.

       Now she makes yet another quantum leap , in her latest solo album We Are Alive . Produced by sonic genius Eli Crews (best known for his work with tUnE-yArDs) , her inimitable composition talents and unique voice take infinite and inventive flight , from her jazz-standard sounding "A-Train" to the fiery build of "Waiting for Earthquakes" , weaving through a dark and tantalizing version of The Police classic "Bring On the Night" via her funky take on an Ethiopian tune, "Kemekem " (which she subtitles " I Like Your Afro!") , winding up with the grande finale, the declaration "We Are Alive". USA Today says, " Meklit delivers a sound all her own... (We Are Alive) gets even better with every listen ",

      The Village Voice comments : "She's a blithe-voiced daughter of Joni who considers music a path to higher ground, with rest stops for the likes of Talking Heads and Lou Reed."

01. Meklit Hadero - Walk Up (5:34)
02. Meklit Hadero - Float And Fall (3:29)
03. Meklit Hadero - Leaving Soon (4:12)
04. Meklit Hadero - You And The Rain (4:30)
05. Meklit Hadero - Feeling Good (4:29)
06. Meklit Hadero - Abbay Mado (5:05)
07. Meklit Hadero - Soleil Soleil (2:33)
08. Meklit Hadero - Call (3:59)
09. Meklit Hadero - Walls (3:40)
10. Meklit Hadero - Under (4:27)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Yeshi Demelash - Qene [2012] [ethiopia]

   R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D    

Yeshi Demelash - Ela (2018)

       Yeshi Demelash has been called “arguably the most talented contemporary female Ethiopian jazz singer.”

             Musicians like Theodros Tadesse, Aster Aweke, and Gigi inspired Yeshi in her teens which later led her join Yared, Addis Ababa University school of music in 2004, where she majored in flute and minored in piano. 

          Apart from her music work Yeshi has also worked on a movie, worked as a radio host and as a music teacher. But she is highly known for her strong and constructive criticisims have let her establish a reputation in the field. 

        In 2012 Yeshi has released album titled "Qene" an ode to Ethiopia’s ancient literary and oral traditions, which has taken more than a year to prepare. Her new album has taken the Ethiopian music industry by storm with her pop and jazz amharic fusion styled musics.

Now Yeshi’s voice has captured the attention of New York-based producer Bill Laswell — the person behind the records of Jano and Gigi — and he is currently remixing one of her songs entitled Fano

Yeshi plans to work on a new album with Laswell when she begin her first American tour.

01. Yeshi Demelash - Fano (3:25)
02. Yeshi Demelash - Qene (4:56)
03. Yeshi Demelash - Tekusena Berad (4:02)
04. Yeshi Demelash - Melkamena Kefu (4:09)
05. Yeshi Demelash - Na (3:26)
06. Yeshi Demelash - Geday Neh (4:17)
07. Yeshi Demelash - Habesha (4:13)
08. Yeshi Demelash - Kokob (3:46)
09. Yeshi Demelash - Dekmete (5:08)
10. Yeshi Demelash - Zare (4:14)
11. Yeshi Demelash - Hager (5:00)
12. Yeshi Demelash - Sakena Chewata (4:50)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Emilia Mitiku - Live In London [EP] [eth+swe]

Emilia Mitiku - Ooh La La @ The Roof Gardens, Kensington

       Emilia Rydberg, also known as Emilia Mitiku or more simply Emilia (born 5 January 1978, Stockholm, Sweden) is a Swedish pop music and soul singer, mostly known for her worldwide hit single, "Big Big World".

       As a student Rydberg attended the Adolf Fredrik's Music School in Stockholm.

     Rydberg was discovered in 1996 by Lars Anderson, son of ABBA's manager, Stig Anderson.

    Rydberg's father is the Ethiopian singer Teshome Mitiku, and her mother is Swedish. She used an alias of Emilia in the first years of her career, but more recently she has started to perform under the name of Emilia Mitiku, using her father's surname.

    In 2009 she competed in Melodifestivalen, the Swedish national selection for Eurovision Song Contest, with the song "You're My World". She advanced directly from her heat; however, she placed ninth in the final. She released her album My World in 2009. Her single "Teardrops" was released to radio stations on 2 June 2009. Her duet with Ákos Dobrády, "Side By Side" (Szerelemre hangolva), was recorded in both Hungarian and English languages and issued the same year.

     Emilia recorded a cover version of Rihanna's "We Found Love" for a studio session in Stockholm which was published on YouTube. On June 25, 2012, she released the single "Lost Inside".

                                                                             Albums :

Big Big World (1998)
Emilia (2000)
Små ord av kärlek (2007)
My World (2009)
I Belong to You (2013)

01 - Emilia Mitiku - Oh La La (Live in London) (3:12)
02 - Emilia Mitiku - Dream A Little Dream (Live in London) (2:59)
03 - Emilia Mitiku - So Wonderful (Live in London) (3:36)
04 - Emilia Mitiku - Lost Inside (Live in London) (4:58)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ayoe Angelica - I'm Amazed [2008] [denmark+ethiopia]

Ayoe Angelica - Sugar

       Ayoe Angelica (b. 1988), is a Danish-Ethiopian female jazz / soul singer. She débuted with her ”I’m Amazed” album, in co-operation with producer / composer Mads B. B. Krog (aka Plateaux Techniques). Ayoe delivers an exciting combination of soulful vocals, acoustic elements and crunchy electronics, complemented by a touch of lo-fi jazz.

      Ayoe is one of those young talents you unsuccessfully could travel around the world looking for. And then it turns out that she walks around in Scandinavia in the small country of Denmark. The 20-year-old Danish/Ethiopian singers’ debut I’m amazed is an album that sets new standards for what modern pop, jazz/soul can, and wants to do. Ayoe Angelica wants to do quite a lot. Besides presenting us to some of the most intelligent music with hit guarantee heard in a long time, she is also a young woman with great social and human indignation. Ayoe 
Angelica is determined that 10 percent of the profit from I’m Amazed goes to relieve poor children in her second home country of Ethiopia.

     Ayoe Angelica is a natural talent, who started singing before she could speak. She grew up in the countryside of Denmark, and from her parents she received musical input stretching from Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald to Spice Girls. To her parents free musical and creative upbringing and large record collection was added singing and music teaching, all though many of her song teachers had to - after first being overwhelmed - recognize that a talent of Ayoe Angelicas calibre was difficult to combine with an ordinary Scandinavian song teaching tradition. In school she became interested in jazz music, formed her own jazz band, while at the same time becoming lead singer in the local big band. This brought her to a traditional Riverboat jazz festival, where she during a jam session met the Danish producer Mads B. B. Krog. He was completely thrilled by Ayoe Angelicas voice and stage performance and immediately suggested that they worked together.

       The producer, musician and composer Mads B. B. Krog had, through a 10 year period with more than 100 releases behind him, finally developed his completely personal musical sound and musical language called Plateaux Techniques. The meeting between them sparkled. Immediately after ending high school Ayoe Angelica left home and moved to Copenhagen. Here she and Mads B.B. Krog began the work on what later would become the album I’m Amazed.

This is the result. 11 completely irresistible songs that all move around in a musical borderland, one can attempt to characterize as a mixture of crunchy electronics, lo-fi jazz and melodic soul. But one should be careful to label Ayoe Angelica and I’m Amazed with too many designations. Because this is first and last a musical mix of creative genre defining and refreshing character, that leaves one speechless - and you really just have to listen, sense and experience it with an open mind. 

01 - Ayoe Angelica - Dr. Jekyll (4:00)
02 - Ayoe Angelica - Left Side (3:08)
03 - Ayoe Angelica - Get A Hold (4:07)
04 - Ayoe Angelica - Everybody Loves You (4:15)
05 - Ayoe Angelica - Sugar (3:48)
06 - Ayoe Angelica - God Bless The Child (3:39)
07 - Ayoe Angelica - Also On A Tuesday (3:03)
08 - Ayoe Angelica - Face With Nobody (4:40)
09 - Ayoe Angelica - I Want You (4:07)
10 - Ayoe Angelica - Never Drown (4:43)

11 - Ayoe Angelica - I'm Your Piano (6:18)

   Danish press reviews:   

Woman 5/6 (Record of the month)

“Wow! You are overwhelmed by how beautifully, atmospherically, and tastefully this debutant singer melts together with the sound picture.”

Costume 5/6

“…An ultra charming version of Billie Holiday mixed with Portishead on a happy day.”

Q 4/5

“Great Sunday music! Denmark’s new jazz diva”

Bazar 4/6

“…A delicious mixture of pop, soul and jazz, which is the perfect sound tapestry for a quiet Sunday.”

Copenhagen Magazine 4/6 

“…A great offer for this summers warmest and crispest soundtrack.”

Chili 4/6 

“The only 20year old Ayoe’s vocal is eminently delicious, soft, natural and pleasant.”


“Rarely does a debut sound more seductive and inviting than on Ayoe Angelicas new CD, I’m Amazed”