Browsing through some short films over at Monster Children, I stumbled upon this live recording by Imperial Tiger Orchestra of Mulatu Astatke’s 1970 Ethiopian jazz classic, “Emnete.” Imperial Tiger Orchestra is a modern jazz band from Switzerland formed with inspiration from Ethiopia’s golden age of jazz, and specifically with Francis Falceto‘s Éthiopiques series of compilations (one of my absolute favorites). “Emnete” translates to “My Belief.”
And yet, for a Swiss band playing Ethiopian jazz in the late aughts, it still comes off as a fresh take, probably in part to the looseness of the playing. This track was recorded in 2009 at a Club Alizé in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and released the next year on their debut named for the city.
Here’s another, this one of the traditional song, “Selam Temagwet,” that I remember best as performed by Tèklé Tèsfa-Ezghi: