World Vibes: Exploring Ethiopian Fusion
  • THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 2014

  • Posted by: Tayi Sanusi

For those of you that find yourself listening to the same three playlists of your favorite pop, rock, or alternative songs, we've got news for you... There's a whole wide world out there of unique musical fruits waiting to be foraged for your listening pleasure. Out of the kindness of our hearts, we'd like to spoon feed you samples of such rich musical culture from unexplored corners of the world.

Ethiopian Fusion

Music of Ethiopia covers a vast and seemingly endless variety of cultural sounds. In the 70s there was a resurgence of the western musical climate within Ethiopia, ultimately resulting in several funk and jazz fusion groups with roots in traditional Ethiopian folk music. Fast forward to the 00s and much has evolved within the context of Ethiopia's music scene, but that hasn't stopped musicians from eagerly blending its roots music with trends in contemporary western music to create some compelling combos.

Spotlight Musicians:

Debo Band

As a perfect introduction to the current Ethiopian fusion climate, the Boston-based collective Debo Band led by ethnomusicologist Danny Mekonnen, has picked up where artists like Francis Falceto left off. This 11-piece band has seamlessly blended traditional Ethiopian folk sentiments with a variety of European and western sounds to create compelling jazzy/pseudo-psychedelic soundscapes all their own. Their first self-titled album is pretty much guaranteed to be a pleasurable cerebral caress...especially for jazz lovers.



Mulatu Astatke

Often referred to as the father of Ethiopian Jazz, Mulatu Astatke was born in Ethiopia and later went on to study music around the world. Since the 70s he has become a fixture in the instrumental music scene of Ethiopia and has successfully brought his unique sounds to western audiences through the fusion of traditional sounds with both classical and experimental jazz.

"Yekermo Sew"



"Yegelle Tezeta"



Bole 2 Harlem

Founded in 2005 by David Schommer and Ethiopian singers Tigist Shibabaw and Maki Siraj, Bole 2 Harlem is no longer actively producing music, but their first album Bole2Harlem Volume 1 is an interesting collection of upbeat environmentally rich instrumental soundscapes weaved with hip-hop influences.

"Aya Bellew"



"Hoya Hoye"



Enjoy and keep your eyes peeled for World Vibes 2, where we'll be bringing you yet another exciting world music trend!
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