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Country Ethiopia Genres acoustic jazz traditional Festival Sauti za Busara 2014 Recordings
Comprised of Addis Ababa’s finest acoustic musicians, the “Addis Acoustic Project” brings forth Ethiopia’s popular tunes from the 1950s and 1960s in a new light. Ethiopia’s pop music of this era predominantly featured acoustic instruments such as the mandolin, accordion, clarinet, and double bass, played alongside traditional instruments such as the “Kirar”, “Kebero”, “Washint” and”Massinko”.
Directed and arranged by guitarist Girum Mezmur, the “Addis Acoustic Project” unfolds Ethiopian music from the past in a contemporary way. The group’s musical style has influences of traditional East-African, Jazz, and Latin in it. The band, composed of veteran musicians such as Ayele Mamo (Mandolin), as well as contemporary musicians such as Girum Mezmur (Guitar/Accordion/Arrangement), Henock Temesgen (Double Bass), Nathaniel Tesemma (Drums/Percussions), Aklilu Wolde Yohannes (Clarinet/Flute), and Misale Legesse (Kebero/Percussions), produces unique sounds dear to most Ethiopians and that undoubtedly appeal to a greater world music audience. Some have even dubbed the group as being similar to the “Buena Vista Social Club”.
Addis Acoustic Projects’ founder/ leader, guitarist Girum Mezmur, has performed with the who’s who of Ethiopian music including Aster Awoke, Teddy Afro, Ali Birra, and Mahmoud Ahmed. His musical relationship with Mahmoud Ahmed has provided him the opportunity to tour several countries worldwide including Africa, Europe, and Canada, playing at major international music festivals such as the WOMAD, the Montreal Jazz Festival, Roskilde Festival, etc. Girum has also had the honor of participating in U.K’s 2007 BBC Radio World Music Award, appearing as Mahmoud Ahmed’s guitarist. It was here where Mahmoud Ahmed won the nomination for “Best Artist” under the category “Africa”. Girum has also performed with renown international artists such as Angelique Kidjo, Ray Lema, and Brice Wassi.
Since its premiere at the 7th Ethiopian Music Festival (May 2008), Addis Acoustic Project has been enjoying great success. The group currently performs on a weekly basis at one of Addis Ababa’s hip jazz spots..."Jazzamba". The band has also released its debut album "Tewesta"- Remembrance" on the music label, Harmonia Mundi/World Village.
Their performance at Sauti za Busara 2014 features Melaku Belay, Ethiopia’s leading dancer and a highly respected cultural ambassador, who brings the vibrant beauty of Ethiopian traditional music and dance to audiences worldwide. With his own music and dance groups Ethiocolor and Fendika, as well as with many other international musicians, Melaku is a master of more than thirty different dances that express Ethiopia in all her diversity. He has traveled throughout Ethiopia to learn the dance traditions of the country's 80 tribal groups. His musicians and dancers present a cultural journey that starts in the highlands of Tigray, Wollo, Gonder, and Gojam, also including dances from the Somali and Afar regions and southern Ethiopian dance forms from the Gurage, Wolaita, and Konso traditions.
Melaku is the world’s foremost interpreter of eskista, a traditional Ethiopian trance dance of athletic shoulder movements that presage hip hop movements of breaking and popping. Melaku with Fendika and Ethiocolor draw deeply from the well of Ethiopia's bardic traditions, but are not afraid to tap into their natural creativity to present joyous rhythms and sounds that revitalize the ancient artistic forms to thrill audiences and invite their wholehearted participation.