Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Recording: Sounds of Saba

Artist: Sounds of Saba

Songs: Zelesegna (feat. Fantahun Shewankochew) / Yells Doju (feat. Netsanet Mellesse)

Recorded at Alliance Française, March 7, 2015.

Sounds of Saba feat. Fantahun Shewankochew - Zelesegna

Sounds of Saba feat. Netsanet Mellesse - Yells Doju

Some of Batuki Music's efforts have involved fostering pan-African sonic links and exploring the range of Ethiopian music, but this new band — formed of veterans of the city's jazz and afrobeat scenes1 — was largely convened to accompany Fantahun Shewankochew. Shewankochew released a number of albums and worked as the music department coordinator of the Ethiopian National Theatre in Addis Ababa before coming to Toronto — which is to say he's definitely a top-tier talent as a singer, krar player and bandleader. Word is that he's working on a new album with this band, showing off several of these songs at this show.

The night also featured the phenomenal vocalist Netsanet Mellesse, who rose to fame in Ethiopia as a singer with The Wallias Band (which was founded by Mulatu Astatke). She has released albums both in Ethiopia and internationally (and even toured with the great Aster Aweke), but isn't very well known in what is now her home town. That's too bad — hopefully Toronto will get more chances to hear her in performance. In fact, while I was quite pleased at the chance to take in this show from one of the comfy chairs in the cozy theatre at the Alliance Française, I also realized this would be just about perfect outside on a summer night where everyone could dance to the ample grooves. Stay tuned — hopefully such a chance will be coming up and you won't want to miss this a second time.

1 The band was composed of Daniel Barnes (drums), Tom Juhas (guitar), Simeon Abbott (keybs), Tyler Emond (bass), John Maclean (saxophone), Steve Dyte (trumpet), and Paul Turosov (trombone)

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