Blogtrotters

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



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)




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)




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)




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)



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Zvuloon Dub System - Anbessa Dub [2014] [isr+eth]









       Zvuloon Dub System is Israel's leading Reggae band. Adopting their name from one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the band was formed in 2006 by the Smilan brothers. They shared the same passion for roots reggae and dub, with influences from a variety of music styles, like Ethiopian jazz and rare grooves from the 70’s, USA's soul, funk and jazz, alongside with Israeli mizrahi (oriental) music.





   Zvuloon Dub System - Anbessa Dub [FULL ALBUM]   



band members:

Gili Yalo - lead vocals, 
Inon Peretz - trumpet, 
Ilan Adiri - tenor sax, 
Ilan Smilan - lead guitar, 
Simon Nahum - rhythm guitar, 
Lior Romano - piano and organ, 
Tal Marcus - bass, 
Asaf Smilan - drums and percussion 


guests artists:

Mahmoud Ahmed - vocals (5), 
Zemene Melesse - vocals (8), 
Yaacov Lilay - vocals (7), krar (1,7,10), 
Dejen Manchelot – masinko (10), 
Roei Hermon - trumpet (6, 9), 
Yonatan Voltzok - trombone ?(1-5, 7) 
Maayan Milo – trombone (6,8,9), 
Omri Abramov - alto Sax (1-3, 5-7,9),
Elad Gellert -? baritone sax (1), 
Shay Sattaman Jacovi - backing vocals (8) 








Monday, July 18, 2016

Ermias - Mystic Groove [1998] [usa + ethiopia]










          Originally from Ethiopia, Ermias T. Kebede lived in different parts of the world including France and Italy. He currenly resides in the US, in the city of Chicago, IL. 

        Picked up the guitar in SJS High School in Addis Ababa and has been playing every kind of music since. He joined a variety of bands in his career, some of whose members have played with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Ziggy Marley. 

        Currently a member of ABOGIDA band touring with Teddy Afro, he also runs his own independent label, ETK MUSIC, under which he has released two albums "Mystic Groove" and "Glimpse of Victory"

      A combination of world, jazz and Reggae music like never mixed before, "Mystic Groove" transports you into the planes of strong rhythms and hypnotic grooves with subtle yet distinct melodies paving the way. 

       "My primary motivation for completing the project "Mystic Groove" is to bring forth the mystical rhythms of Reggae to a wider audience. I have always been moved by the subtle yet powerful rhythm of the "one drop" beat that mainly categorizes Reggae music from the rest. I believe different types of music affect different parts of the human self and Reggae goes right to the spirit"




Ermias - 01. Mystic Groove (3:56)
Ermias - 02. Colors Of Home (3:49)
Ermias - 03. Journey (3:51)
Ermias - 04. Above The Ocean (4:43)
Ermias - 05. Abeba (3:48)
Ermias - 06. In The Space (4:42)
Ermias - 07. Celebration (3:09)
Ermias - 08. Galloping Through (4:25)
Ermias - 09. Caribbean Morning (3:49)
Ermias - 10. Melancholic Trance (4:48)



Saturday, June 11, 2016

Chachi Tadesse - Hoya Hoye [1999] [ethiopia]









          Most Rastafarians consider Ethiopia to be their spiritual homeland and identify with that country to some extent-some even incorporate Amharic phrases into their songs, the classic example being the Abyssinians' repatriation classic "Satta Massa Gana." 





Chachi Tadesse - Enkuan Des Yalachu




        Chachi Tadesse does this tradition one step better-she actually is Ethiopian, and sings primarily in Amharic. 

       And while reggae is the foundation of her art, there's more to it than that; "Musica," with its swaggering beat and turntable work, shows a marked hip-hop influence, while her singing on the dancehall-flavored "Unity" seems to draw at least as much on North African vocal traditions as on the Memphis-by-way-of-Kingston sound that characterizes most reggae singing. Her muttered toasting on "Gorraw" is quietly compelling. She gets help from guests both famous (Stephen Marley, Sizzla) and obscure (Lisa Danger, Billy Mystic), but her shimmering voice is always at the core of each song's sound. This is a remarkable album.




Chachi Tadesse - 01 - Musica (ft. Stephen Marley) (4:45)
Chachi Tadesse - 02 - Hoya Hoye (with Garnett Silk's children) (4:13)
Chachi Tadesse - 03 - Rambosa (ft. Sizzla) (4:15)
Chachi Tadesse - 04 - Fiker Band Menged (One Way Street) (5:09)
Chachi Tadesse - 05 - Hibret (Unity) (ft. Gaddiel & Daweh Congo) (4:17)
Chachi Tadesse - 06 - Ye Africa Negest (African Queen) (ft. Prezident Brown) (4:20)
Chachi Tadesse - 07 - Gorraw (ft. Doniki & Lisa Danger) (4:18)
Chachi Tadesse - 08 - Atresa (Warning) (ft. Billy Mystic, Iqulah Rastafari, Doniki & Steady Ranks) (4:57)
Chachi Tadesse - 09 - Natty Dread (ft. Sister Carol) (3:55)
Chachi Tadesse - 10 - Mesgana (Give Thanks) (ft. Kulcha Knox) (5:43)