Renaissance of Ethiopian Music

Addis Acoustic Renaissance Group strives to revive the Ethiopian Music of the 1950s and 1960s. Ezega.com interviewed the founder of Addis Acoustic Renaissance Group, Girum Mezimur, and asked him about his music, how he founded the group, and more.
 
March 16, 2009 - PRLog -- Ethiopia has a very rich music history. The 1950s and 60s produced some of the best musical talent as well as many great hits that are popular in the country even to this day. There are some who are afraid that the music of this era will soon fade away and be forgotten, giving way to music of the new generation. However, I just witnessed a group that is working hard for the renaissance of this music. They name themselves after their endeavor: “Addis Acoustic Renaissance Group”. I saw this group deliver a wonderful performance the other night at Club Alize located at the far end of Africa Avenue (Bole Road) near the airport.

Club Alize is located on the second floor and accommodates nearly 400 people. The interior of the club has a classic Far East decor and includes cozy couches on the right side of the club. The left part is mainly dominated by the bar counter. On Thursdays, there is extraordinary jazz music played here that everyone seems to enjoy. The founder and leader of the group, the Addis Acoustic Renaissance Group, is Girum Mezmur (guitar player and composer). Other group members include Henock Temesgen (Double Bass), Dawit Ferew (Clarinet), Natnael Tessema (Drum), Shaleka Melaku Tegegn (Accordion), Mesale Legesse (Percussion), and Ayele Mamo (Mandolin). Shaleka Melaku and Ayele Mamo, musicians from the 1950s and 60s, give the group a unique image and stature.

Addis Acoustic Renaissance Group strives to improve itself by adding new arrangements frequently, a trait that seems to give the group a captivating character. On Thursdays, the club is packed with various types of people (old, young, locals, foreigners, couples, groups – you name it.) In fact, it is this quality to embrace and entertain all kinds of people that distinguishes this group from all others. This is a living proof that the same genre of music can, in fact, appeal to various age groups and to people from all walks of life.

Addis Acoustic Renaissance Group’s jazz night is a place that appealed to me for some time now. They play tasteful and classic music from the 1950s and 60s in a way that entertains even those who have no clue about the Ethiopian music of that era.

Girum, the founder and leader of this group, is only 34 years old. However, he has already left his mark as a lead guitarist and coordinator in many well-known bands and records in Addis Ababa. Propelled by formal education from Yared Music School, Girum went on to hone his skills by joining the Axumite Band and later the Coffee House Club. Girum has been performing at the Coffee House as a jazz band leader and guitarist, also introducing the concept of jam session where guest musicians in the house are welcomed and encouraged to join the house band to perform on the spot. His weekly performances there over the past decade have been known to have influenced the live jazz scene in Addis Ababa to date.

Girum has also composed and arranged music for many artists, films, radio programs, and documentaries. Currently, he is involved in several bands and has traveled to various parts of the world, including countries in Africa, Europe, and North-America, with major Ethiopian acts such as Mahmoud Ahmed, Aster Awoke, Teddy Afro, etc. Girum has also performed with internationally known artists such as Ray Lema and Angelique Kidjo. He has also performed at major international music festivals such as the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance), Montreal Jazz Festival,Ethiopian Music Festival III, IV, V, VII, and several others.

Eden Habtamu of Ezega.com interviewed Girum recently, who welcomed her with a warm smile for early morning interview. He is a very polite and sincere person. They discussed his childhood, his music, how he founded the group, and much more. Here follows the full interview with Girum, the founder, band leader, producer and guitar player of Addis Acoustic Renaissance Group.

To read the full interview, please click here: http://ezega.com/News/NewsDetails.aspx?Page=heads&NewsID=....

For more news and information about Ethiopia, please visit Ezega.com at http://ezega.com/News/NewsHeads.aspx.

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About Ezega.com:
Ezega.com is the premier web portal for Ethiopian news, jobs, real estate, classifieds, entertainment, social networking, and shopping. Ezega.com posts hundreds of items every week in several areas, including job vacancies, homes for sale or rent, classifieds, videos, blogs, forums, etc. Ezega.com is owned by Ezega Engineering PLC, a company that provides custom software and IT services to clients in Ethiopia. http://www.Ezega.com
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