Ethiopia Super Krar

Ethiopia Super Krar

by Krar Collective


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Ethiopia Super Krar

Before gaining fame while touring with Damon Albarn, the Krar Collective were a London-based trio that performed at weddings in the U.K.'s Ethiopian community. While their repertoire is based on traditional songs from their native land, the Krar Collective have created a unique style by radically reworking the material that creates a timeless appeal. The "krar" is an ancient lyre. The group's leader, Temesgen Zeleke, employs acoustic, electric, and bass krars, with organic percussion and other traditional instruments such as Ethiopian fiddles and flutes underscoring and on top of various vocalists in a variety of ranges. Vocals are full of collective cadences and long solo poems; musical stops and starts create an organic syncopation, and the krars can often sound very similar to guitars. The track "Mr. Astatke" is, of course, for Mulatu Astatke, the father of Ethio-jazz and the man who encouraged Zeleke to create a new music that extended the krar lineage into the 21st century. "Guragigna" features intense call-and-response vocals among three singers/chanters, while the following "Oromigna" strongly resembles rock & roll with more adventurous -- and infectious -- rhythms. The other side of this sound is evidenced on the penultimate track, "Tizita," where acoustic krar is fingerpicked in a compelling series of rhythmic and harmonic statements and Zeleke sings with a tender and forlorn loneliness that showcases the nation's folk music tradition in a more conventional way. The sound of the Krar Collective walks a wavering line between Asian, Middle Eastern, and East Central African folk. Ethiopia Super Krar is unlike any other music to come down the pipe from Africa in recent years. It's at once accessible, beautiful, and energetic.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/11/2012
Label: Riverboat
UPC: 0605633006025
catalogNumber: 1060
Rank: 243044

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