Dub Colossus: Addis Through the Looking Glass (Real World)

 |   |  1 min read

Dub Colossus: Yigermel
Dub Colossus: Addis Through the Looking Glass (Real World)

With recent interest in the music of Ethiopia (the Ethiopiques compilations, albums by Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics), the ground has been well prepared for this by Nick Page (aka Dubulah who was behind London's innovative TransGlobal Underground and Temple of Sound).

Dubulah has already been in the region for A Town Called Addis (and off on a tangent with his Syriana project on Road to Damascus) and here brings together a few dozen Ethiopian and UK artists including Mykaell Riley (of Steel Pulse), drummer Nick Van Gelder (Jamiroquai), Dr Das who is bassist in Asian Dub Foundation and other old familiars. The Ethiopians were recorded in situ and the tapes taken back to the UK for the aditional work.

This often hypnotic album -- as much jazz as it is dub conscious -- weaves the voices and instruments of Ethiopian artists through material which sometimes suggests Afro-Cuban music and of course reggae. But it is positively entrancing when the singers are to the fore with their quivering, emotional sound which can be powerful or sweet'n'soft.

The first standout is Wey Fikir with a female vocalist, sinuous flute and saxophones and a gentle reggae beat,and later Tringo Dub has strident piano and what sounds like thumb piano and traditional fiddle while the vocalists do a kind of call and response.

The reggae standards Satta Massagana and Uptown Top Rankin (the latter sung by the same vocalist on Wey Fikir) appear but to little great effect in this rather more exotic context where the most interesting of these 14 tracks are where the Ethiopian artists are more in the foreground.

By being not quite world music, jazz, dub or reggae, this one stretches right across them all and deserves your serious attention and enjoyment.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various Artists: Anywhere on the Road (Warners)

Various Artists: Anywhere on the Road (Warners)

As many Elsewhere readers would be aware, the late English radio DJ Charlie Gillett hosted important weekly radio shows over the decades which pulled music from around the planet: World Music from... > Read more

Various Artists: Turkish Groove (Putumayo/Elite)

Various Artists: Turkish Groove (Putumayo/Elite)

The Putumayo label pumps out the compilations and some of them, most actually, are pretty indifferent. But the likeable generic packaging has captured the imagination so some people just get... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Belvedere Estate, Republic of Ireland: When families fall out

Belvedere Estate, Republic of Ireland: When families fall out

When posh people fell out in the old days they often did it with a grand statement. Not for them cutting up the clothes or taking a key along the side of the car. They went for the big gesture... > Read more

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column... > Read more