This project was started when I had the chance to work with an agent in Addis Ababa named Michael Malike. I heard a small group of musicians he brought to Europe and asked if we could do a bigger project for my series called The Back-room at Berlin's House of World Culture.
We did a concert in Berlin and afterwards went in the studio to record. This is what we came up with.
I always liked that hidden connection that Ethiopian dance music had with Afro American funk.
There is an attitude there that is very similar. Its a diaspora thing.
I wanted to find the harmonious link in those two languages. The thing that would make the music sail.
Not only the pentatonic scale thing but also a kind of bounce that they play with when they are in the zone, is straight out of the same kind of attitude I recongized in funk. It hits the "groove bone".
With these cats I saw the connection and although I have heard people mix Ethiopian music together with genres in the west, I never really heard a funk connection so I got two of Berlin's established funk musicians, Kenny Matin and Max Hughes to be a part of it.
That was the vision.
I think my Ethiopian friends also enjoyed the whole week of organic exchanging as much as I did. Endris Hassen and Mesele both left their instruments with me as souvenirs of our gathering. I have them to this day on my studio wall. I guess its just a rare thing to work with people who are so warm and generous. It gets you to think of what it means to be rich in these days of global greed. Enriching ones soul becomes a most valued experience in todays world, and The Sheba Sessions was a testament of the communicative powers music has to cross borders of communication and create life lines of sharing.
released 19 September 2010
Endris Hassen Ahmed, masinko
Mesele Asmamaw Kebede, kirar
Asnake Gebreyes Lemma, drums/vocals
Gete Anley Kendie, vocals
Genet Assefa Hussein, vocals
Jean-Paul Bourelly, guitar
Kenny Martin, drums
Max Hughes, bass
Produced by Jean-Paul Bourelly for jpgotmangos
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