Akalé Wubé are the hardest working band on the Ethio-Jazz scene in France today. For seven years they've been hitting the stage with an impressive regularity, all over Europe, Asia and Africa. Their music — half original songs, the other half covers of Ethiopian classics and traditional tunes from the 60s and the 70s — has been growing, expanding and maturing into a unique Ethiopian groove of their own. Next week they'll be playing at the Pan Piper in Paris, with famous Malian musician, vocalist, arranger and composer Cheick Tidiane Seck as their guest. French Ethio-jazz band Arat Kilo will be opening. It'll be on saturday, october 17th (facebook event is here). We've said it before, but save the date!
Grant Phabao is the unstoppable producer behind the Paris DJs sound. Over nearly two decades of superb music-making, he grew to be a prime purveyor of Jamaican Soul, wether labeled "ska", "rocksteady", "reggae", etc. After releasing albums with reggae icons Carlton Livingston, The Lone Ranger, The Jays or The Silvertones, and remixes for the whole planet, from George Clinton to Alice Russell, from David Byrne to Shawn Lee, from Jurassic 5 to The Beta Club… he started producing African music, working with the likes of Ebo Taylor, Franck Biyong, musicians from Fela's Afrika 70 or Egypt 80, from Antibalas, from The Souljazz Orchestra, or from Brownout, just to name a few.
With the Paris DJs label, he managed to cross the rigid boundaries of music categorization with an astonishing quantity of high-quality productions and remixes in many styles, achieving a high-order mastery in reggae, ska and afrofunk…
While discussing the possibility of releasing Akalé Wubé's sax & flute player Etienne de la Sayette's solo recordings on Paris DJs, the idea of getting Grant Phabao to put to good use his reggae-remixing skills on one of Akalé Wubé's songs arose quickly. But what about the Ethiopian horn or vocal harmonies, would they fit on a reggae groove? Well you can't really know until you try, so that's exactly what happened.
The song picked is the delighful 'Alègntayé', extracted from the band's latest album, 'Sost'. It's a tune originally written by Ayaléw Abbèbè and Tesfayé Abbèbè, arranged by Mulatu Astatqé and made famous by Pan-Ethiopian singer Tlahoun Gèssèssè. Akalé Wubé covered it with radiant Ethiopian singer Genet Asefa on vocals. Now Grant Phabao takes the tune all the way to Kingston, Jamaica — via Addis-Abeba, Ethiopia and Paris, France. It's gonna be hard to make a groove more global than that. And guess what? The resulting blend, unheard before, works like a charm! Ethio-reggae. What's next?
released October 6, 2015
Written and composed by Ayaléw Abbèbè & Tesfayé Abbèbè
Etienne de la Sayette : tenor & baritone saxophone
Paul Bouclier : trumpet
Loïc Réchard : guitar
Genet Asefa : voice
Erwan Loeffel : percussions
Laurian Daire : Hammond Organ
All other instruments, additional production, mix and mastering by Grant Phabao at Paris DJs studio
© 2015 Akalé Wubé / Clapson / T.I.M.E.C. / Paris DJs
Illustration by Ben Hito
all rights reserved