Dub Colossus EP
Dub Colossus, 2008
The first taste of an extraordinary collaboration between contemporary Ethiopian artists and UK producer Dubulah (aka Nick Page), bringing hidden gems from Addis Ababa back to England. Dub meets dreamy blues, hypnotic grooves, jazz piano and driving funk brass. Flavours of traditional Azmari singing, 70s reggae and Ethio-pop infuse one of the most alluring and soulful genres of African music.
Track 1 : Azmari Dub, the opening track, pays tribute to Ethiopia's bards while sounding like an epic cut from Lee Perry's Black Ark in Jamaica. Tough tune...
Swirling around Mimi's (Sintayehu Zenebe) intense lead vocal are Teremage on additional vocals and messenqo (one-string fiddle) and the magnificent brass section, Horns Of Negus. Azmari Beats go Uptown...to Addis!
Next up and exclusive to this CD Track 2 : Shegye Shegitu (One Drop Mix), a Ry Cooder meets Ethio-Blues epic...
Vocals by Teremage, supported by Tsedenia and Sintayehu in call-and-response style, topped off with impressionistic piano from Samuel Yirga alongside Dubulah's bass and acoustic slide guitar. The track also features the smokey deep Delta guitar playing of the wonderful Skip "Little Axe" McDonald, whose contribution is all-pervasive...and the merest hint of microtonal ambient keyboards from J. Papazanateas. A Danakil Depression Delta Blues.
Track 3 : Neh Yelginete is one of the tracks that benefits most from the Real World sessions. Samuel Yirga's increasing confidence on piano is evident, while Tsedenia Gebremarkos paints a picture of a lazy day in the sun: but is it in Addis Ababa or Wiltshire? You decide.
Feleke Hailu`s unique Ethiopian tenor style is both supportive and complementary, with all of this underpinned by Bernard O'Neill's expert double bass, Dubulah's guitar, and a weirdly psychedelic 1960s organ solo in the ethiopop style by Greek avant garde composer Jimi Papazanateas.
Finally Track 4 : Ambassel in Box A solo piano improvisation by Samuel Yirga, recorded whilst in Real World Studios.
Played on an enormous concert grand Bosendorfer piano, it gives a fantastic taste of this emerging talent who is set to become a big name in the near future. Think Keith Jarrett/Herbie Hancock-meets Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou and Mulatu Astatqe...also exclusive to this CD.
Jazz, but not as you know it...Ethiopia, but not as you know it...