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Ethiopian Music Legend Girma Beyene and Feedel Band
October 14 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Legend of Ethiopia’s “swinging Addis” scene, lyricist, arranger, vocalist and accomplished pianist Girma Beyene makes a rare DC appearance with eclectic ethio-jazz ensemble Feedel Band.
Girma Beyene was one of the arrangers who made the Ethiopian music of the Golden Era different than the music of today. He was a lyricist, a music writer, arranger, vocalist, an accomplished pianist and finally a bandleader. To most, if any name comes to mind with the word arranger, it is probably that of Mulatu Astatke. Yet, according to Ethiopiques Series producer Francis Falceto, in the heyday of Ethiopia’s “Swinging Addis” scene, Girma Beyene is credited to having arranged close to 65 titles, compared to Mulatu’s 40. Girma left a handful of recordings as a vocalist, but it was as an arranger and pianist that he is fondly remembered today. Arguably he has been more important and influential than Mulatu Astatke for instance, on the 60s and 70s Addis scene. He is also the composer of “Muziqawi Silt”, the most covered Ethiopian tune worldwide. The Washington region is home to one of the most robust Ethiopian music scenes in the world — possibly second only to Addis Ababa itself — and D.C. Ethio-jazz ensemble Feedel Band includes some of its top players. Feedel saxophonist Moges Habte and bassist Alemseged Kebede are well-known for their work with Walias Band, a group that thrived during the height of the Addis jazz scene in the 1970s. (Also in Walias was Hailu Mergia, a D.C.-area cab driver whose music career found its second wind in 2013.) Both Kebede and keyboardist/bandleader Araya Woldemichael have performed with huge acts including vocalist Aster Aweke, who’s been called “Ethiopia’s Aretha Franklin.”