Friday, May 20, 2011

Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex & Guests - Moa Anbessa

Getatchew Mekuria - tenor saxophone;
The Ex:
Katherina Bornefeld - drums;
Terrie Hessels - guitar;
Andy Moor - guitar;
GW Sok - vocals;

Colin McLean - bass;
Xavier Charles - clarinet;
Brodie West - alto saxophone;
Joost Buis - trombone;
Cor Fuhler - organ (# 6,9,10);


01. Ethiopia Hagere [06:30]
02. Sethed Seketelat [04:31]
03. Eywat Setenafegagn [05:04]
04. Che Belew Shellela [04:50]
05. Aynamaye Nesh [05:55]
06. Aynoche Terabu / Shemonmwanaye [08:15]
07. Musicawi Silt [04:22.54]
08. Tezeta [04:16]
09. Almaz Yeharerwa [05:35]
10. Tezalegn Yetentu [06:02]
11. Aha Begena [06:30]

Recorded April 03-04 2006.
Tracks 3,5,6,8,11 recorded live on April 08 2006.
Terp Records

‘‘A killer combination of sounds - the searing tenor sax of Getatchew Mekuria and the raspy guitars of The Ex brought together here in really unique cross-cultural formation! Mekuria's influence really transforms the sound of The Ex, bringing their anarchic spirit into a strongly Ethiopian mode, one that's further underscored by some great guest horn work on clarinet, alto, and trombone used like the kind of horn sections you'd find on Ethiopian recordings from the 70s, which lets Mekuria really do his thing by soloing over the tunes with a great deal of feeling.’’
Dusty Groove America.

Getatchew Mekuria is the most revered veteran of the Ethiopian saxophone. A real giant, both physically and musically. In his seventies, he is still in full voice, with his own, powerfully distinctive style of playing. His huge vibrato, both forceful and fragile, plays around the vocal lines, using typical Ethiopian embellishments. He started playing in 1947 in the Addis Abeba Municipal Band, then in the Haile Selassie 1 Theatre Orchestra and the Police Orchestra. He also backed up all the famous Ethiopian singers. Getatchew Mekuria is the inventor of a musical style called the ‘Shellele’, which originates from an heroic war-chant, translated to the saxophone. When he plays it, he dons a lion’s mane and cuts loose with furious solos that are a kind of free jazz, from before free jazz existed.

The Ex, from Holland, often descibed as an avant-ethno-improv-punk band, toured Ethiopia twice and fell in love with its music. The Ex had their 25th year anniversary party in November 2004 and they invited Getatchew to perform there with the ICP, the Instant Composers Pool, for many decades Holland’s most amazing free-improvising jazz group.

It was his first time traveling outside of Ethiopia but he accepted the ICP as if they were his own band, donned his lion’s mane, the ‘gofere’, and blasted everyone off stage. On the 25-year-Ex-convoy-tour around France, he played with The Ex.

He was so inspired that he suggested to The Ex he should record his next CD with them. He gave them 10 solo saxophone versions of Ethiopian tunes, which they arranged and practiced. Then in April 2006 Getatchew traveled to the Netherlands for some concerts and recording sessions.

The result is unique; Getatchew’s melodies and solos mesh with The Ex’s rhythms, noise and vocals, supported by a guest impro-horn section.

There were some 80 concerts on many Jazz-, Worldmusic- and Rock-festivals and a presentation of the CD in Addis Abeba, where the record also was released on cassette. First pressing 10.000!
#7.Musicawi Silt
The Ex and Getatchew Mekuria at Damrosch Park, NYC, August 20th 2008

#2.Sethed Seketelat

Concert au Point Ephémère à Paris le 12 novembre 2008

#11.Aha Begena live


Sardo said...

Pass: Getatchew

dangbster said...

I was there and it was a pretty amazing performance. Initially assumed that the Dutch band was using the famous Getachew Mekuria in his late age to gain wider recognition but after the show it was clear that they were serious about Ethiopian 1970s jazz. The synthesis between the band and the sax is eclectic to say the least. There is an almost indescribable funky jazz that they create which compensates for the ambiguous English lyrics that don't go along with the songs actual theme.

Here are some Ethiopian shawls