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

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Rasselas - Hagger Swagger (The Album) [2016] [usa+eth]

       Rasselas is an Ethiopian-born Hip-Hop artist and producer who is emerging out of Canada. His style can be described as Hip-Hop mixed with traditional Ethiopian music. Rasselas performs English and Amharic, but he also speaks French. He merges his linguistic abilities to create a fresh vibe within Hip-Hop. He has good knowledge of the international marketplace, and is quite at home in the recording studio producing, composing beats, and rapping original lyrics. He owns and operates his own record label Injera Music Inc. from his residence in Toronto.

Rasselas - Guragigna

      After the release of his 2014 independent album “Injera Music”, Rasselas was nominated for Best Male Artist at the African Entertainment Awards. His latest album “Hagger Swagger (The Album)” iwas released in July 2016. 

Rasselas - 01 - Who Am I (3:49)
Rasselas - 02 - Hagger Swagger Intro (0:20)
Rasselas - 03 - Fo My Peoples (4:18)
Rasselas - 04 - Nebsu (4:06)
Rasselas - 05 - Addis Abeba (5:07)
Rasselas - 06 - Rap Muzika Skit (0:22)
Rasselas - 07 - Guragigna (4:15)
Rasselas - 08 - Hagger Swagger (Ballageru) (3:52)
Rasselas - 09 - Ere Endet New (4:13)
Rasselas - 10 - Bring It On (3:56)
Rasselas - 11 - Hailogga (4:37)
Rasselas - 12 - Excuse My Amarigna (4:36)
Rasselas - 13 - Touchdown Skit (0:56)
Rasselas - 14 - Hoy Muna (4:34)
Rasselas - 15 - Here I Come Again (4:03)
Rasselas - 16 - Gna Komo Ber (4:00)
Rasselas - 17 - In The Mood (3:04)
Rasselas - 18 - Friend in (3:53)
Rasselas - 19 - Welcome To My World (5:20)
Rasselas - 20 - Remember Me (4:07)

Friday, January 26, 2018

Azla Vegan x Ras G - Azla Sounds Volume 1 by Ras G [2016] [ethiopia]

       Azla Vegan is a family owned restaurant based in South Central Los Angeles. In addition to serving mama Azla's love-infused Ethiopian food, this family is passionate about sharing the rich artistic traditions of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian diaspora with the world.

     Azla Sounds, Volume 1 is the first in a series of recordings presented by Azla Vegan. These recordings highlight the traditions and rich cultures of Ethiopia, as well as the various sounds and textures from the Diaspora that inform our aesthetic. 

Azla Vegan x Ras G - zät’äñ

Azla Ethiopian and Vegan Restaurant

Azla Vegan x Ras G - 01 - and (1:18)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 02 - hulätt (1:58)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 03 - sost (2:48)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 04 - aratt (1:58)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 05 - ammïst (2:55)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 06 - sïddïst (4:07)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 07 - säbatt (3:04)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 08 - sïmmïint (1:40)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 09 - zät’äñ (1:56)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 10 - assïir (0:50)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 11 - assïira and (1:47)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 12 - assïira hulet (2:16)
Azla Vegan x Ras G - 13 - assïira sost (3:42)

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)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Debo Band - Montana folk festival no.02 - 2013-07-12 [2013] excerpts [usa+eth]

       Debo Band are a large ensemble led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye. Since their inception in 2006, the band has won raves for their groundbreaking take on Ethiopian pop music (think Ethiopiques), which incorporates traditional scales and vocal styles, alongside American soul and funk rhythms, and instrumentation reminiscent of Eastern European brass bands.

Debo Band features:

Bruck Tesfaye vocals
Danny Mekonnen saxophones
Gabriel Birnbaum tenor saxophone
Danilo Henriquez trumpet and percussion
Stephanie Baird trombone
Jonah Rapino electric violin
Kaethe Hostetter five-stringed violin
Marié Abe accordion
Brendon Wood guitar
Arik Grier sousaphone
PJ Goodwin bass
Adam Clark drums

Debo Band - Lantchi Biye 
(2013 Montana Folk Festival)

Debo Band - 01 - Musicawi Silt (6:34)
Debo Band - 02 - Yene Neger (7:03)
Debo Band - 03 - Not Just A Song (7:04)
Debo Band - 04 - Jeguol Naw Betwa (5:12)
Debo Band - 05 - Ney Ney Weleba (7:57)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pamfalon - Dersual [2013] [ethiopia]

       By combining element’s of Hip-Hop and Reggae, Pamfalon’s music gives a refreshingly honest look at the everyday life struggles and the uncertainty that lies within all of us. Aside from his unique and eclectic delivery, his music offers inspiration and lyrical substance that seems to be lacking in contemporary Ethiopian music. His artistry represents a lifestyle inevitable to a globally connected society.

      This marks the core of a revolution in Ethiopian Hip-Hop history. He may not be a household name yet but Pamfalon is on the fast track.

Pamfalon - Dersual


Let’s start with where you were born and when you moved to Germany
I was born in Ethiopia. I was 8 when i moved to Germany, and that was 1994.

You have an interesting name, what does Pamfalon mean? How did you come up with it?

I was a fifth grader when we first read a story about a guy called Pamphalon. He was described as a man of this world and was an imposer. There was another man in the same story who spent most of his life on an isolated rock praising God. He was always asking God for a like-minded person. One day God sends him to Phamphalon, to make a spiritual connection. He was very sad and upset, why God would send him to Pamphalon, who seems to be very worldly. God’s response was, that he shall not look on the outside but the inside of a person. I was inspired by this story and therefore decided my alias to be Pamfalon from the first day I started to rap. Back then, I had no idea about life. The more I matured, I realized that this name was meant to be mine.

How did it all start for you, your love for making music? Did you always have a passion for music?

Growing up in a foreign country without parents, I was looking for role models that would fit to me. And those Youth Care Workers were simply not it. On the other side, there was Hip Hop which happened to rescue me. I think, it was 97 where I started rapping and fell in love with it. From then it was just a logical progress; studying the Elements of Hip Hop, and do whatever I had to do, to be “real” in terms of Hip Hop.
I have to say I was not mature yet, all the things I was rapping about was not representing what I stand for now. How can you know about life when you are 15 or 16? But I was noticing that I was blessed with some talent. Then there was a time I decided to take time from the music world, because real life was chasing me, or the other way around. Though I did not stop freestyling and so forth, my focus has slowly shifted.

Your sound is very distinctive and different, especially in your most recent songs, How would you describe the music that you typically create?

I think other people should describe it, but there are a lot of different influences in me so it just happens to be this style, my style. I like all kinds of music by now, so the genre would be Pamfalon…

Who produces your music?

Well, it is different from song to song. Sometimes I just voice a riddim I like, or friends send it to me and I voice it, or I just produce it ; all vocal recordings, compositions and mixing are done by myself. All the projects I am working on right now are produced by myself starting from the scratch. There might be a solo guitar or a brass element that a friend of mine will play for me, but 95% is done by myself.

And Qedamawi Records?

Qedamawi Records, is a Music Label that my brother and me put together. Pamfalon is not the only artist on this label. We have really good artists that will make their way within the next years. It is going to be an Ethiopian Label to release authentic music.

You like to talk about real life struggles in your music, what inspires your song writing?

Whenever I write a song, I am always inspired by life. It is just a way I get over things. I won’t just sing about an issue and leave you there without a solution, but provide it within the lyrics, hoping it inspires someone dealing with the same issues.
I learned early enough that, whenever I open my mouth and talk through a microphone, no bullshit shall I spit. The melodies and styles just come while I create.

What do you want the message in your music to be?

The one and only message I always want to get across my music is God’s existence. We Ethiopians know that, but when you grow up surrounded by non believers, you even start to doubt sometimes. So whenever I mention God in my songs, it is not like I am bragging about my spirituality, but I want to encourage other to hold on to their faith.
Another thing, which is also on my agenda, but not in many songs yet, is Ethiopianisim. It is so exciting being Ethiopian, but what does it mean being Ethiopian? I do not have the perfect formula yet, but I give my best to find it out. I think all blessings come with a task, and need a careful treat, so I want my talent to be a contribution to my people. Though I haven’t contributed anything to my country yet, it is my engine that keeps me going each day.
And of course there are some other things I sing about, all I can say is that I am just a man with emotions and feelings. I am nor perfect or the best, but I try to be as real as I can get.

If you were to describe life, how would you put it into words?


Who are your greatest musical influences?

Probably not different from those of my Generation. But if I was forced to name just 5 : I would say Tupac.

Lastly, what would you like to get out from your music in the next few years?

I am working on my EP now, and also producing songs for other Qedmawi artists. I don’t want to put any pressure on me and talk about any deadline. It is done when it is done. Those who are following me, will now it early enough.

Pamfalon - 01 - Hypnotic (2:50)
Pamfalon - 02 - Almeshem (3:31)
Pamfalon - 03 - Dersual (3:48)
Pamfalon - 04 - I need you (2:50)
Pamfalon - 05 - Kokeb (4:22)
Pamfalon - 06 - Inasibihalen (Ft. Jacky Gosee) (4:04)
Pamfalon - 07 - Hedech Embi Bela (3:20)
Pamfalon - 08 - Idersalew (3:10)
Pamfalon - 09 - Inkwan Aderesen (3:29)
Pamfalon - 10 - Ithiopian Gyal (2:13)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Feedel Band - Ethiopian Ocean [2016] [usa+eth]

       The Feedel Band’s sound can best be described as an east African jazz, a merging of 1960s R&B and funk with traditional Ethiopian songs and instruments, the band features artists and music from the hugely popular Éthiopiques series on the Buda CD label that has helped turn Ethiopian music from the 60s and 70s into a hipster obsession.

    The band consists of many of Ethiopia's greatest artists who create original songs inspired by the Golden Age of Ethiopian popular music in the late 1960s and 70s— a time that had Addis Ababa littered with groups playing brass-heavy concoctions influenced by American soul and jazz. The band’s pentatonic melodies are repurposed with mutated instrumentation like 60s and 70s-era Ethiopian grooves played on congas, electric guitar, bass, saxophone, krar, mesenko, piano, organ, trombone and drums.

Feedel Band - Araya's Mood

       The members of Feedel Band are all acclaimed 
musicians in their own right Feedel’s sax player Moges Habte 
can be heard performing the funky James Brown Bandinfluenced 
cut “Muziqawi Silt” on Éthiopiques’ Volume 
13 with his ’70s group the Walias Band. Their bass 
player Alemseged Kebede's groovy bass lines could be 
found in many of Aster Aweke and Tilahune Gessesse's 
music. Also in the band is Araya Woldemichael who is 
the founder of the band, composer, Keyboardist and a 
producer. They will be joined by Mikias Abebayehu on 
drums/congas, Kaleb Temesgen on electric guitar, Kenneth 
Joseph on drums, Omar Little on trumpet, Minale Bezu 
on krar (stringed lyre)/vocal, Setegn Atenaw on 
mesenko/vocal, Feleke Hailu on alto sax, Thomas 
Young, Fasil Bezabeh and Almaz Getahun on traditional 

Feedel Band - 01 - Amest Bet Gurage (7:12)
Feedel Band - 02 - Meskerem (5:04)
Feedel Band - 03 - Ethiopian Ocean (10:06)
Feedel Band - 04 - The Lost Prince (6:25)
Feedel Band - 05 - Shole Ya Neche Tela (5:58)
Feedel Band - 06 - Adey (6:43)
Feedel Band - 07 - Behelme (6:12)
Feedel Band - 08 - Araya's Mood (7:34)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Paulos Tadesse - Ethiomystic [2016] [ethiopia]

       Ethiomystic is a fusion of traditional and contemporary jazz, reggae and rock that makes you want to listen to it again and again. I tried to offer simplicity using just a few instruments. Yet, there’s a layered approach, with rhythm, melody, and harmonies that unlocks a unique, refined sound. - Paulos Tadesse

     Instrumental music situated at the crossroads of many of influences- traditional song, afro-beat, reggae, jazz and funk.

Paulos Tadesse - Hageray

Paulos Tadesse - 01. Hageray (4:20)
Paulos Tadesse - 02. Ethiomystic (4:13)
Paulos Tadesse - 03. The Lonely Road (3:38)
Paulos Tadesse - 04. Eyaleh Kalhone (5:00)
Paulos Tadesse - 05. Birtukane (6:22)
Paulos Tadesse - 06. Yezare Abebawoch (3:55)
Paulos Tadesse - 07. Ououta Ayaskefam (5:15)
Paulos Tadesse - 08. Freedom (5:16)
Paulos Tadesse - 09. Set Alamnem (4:34)
Paulos Tadesse - 10. Yeayne Tesfa (4:44)
Paulos Tadesse - 11. Astawesalew (5:21)
Paulos Tadesse - 12. Ethiomystic Dub (4:16)

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)