Mind-blowing Ethiopian grooves. Dazzling Krar, kebero drums and stunning vocals. Rooted in tradition. Soaked with attitude.
KRAR COLLECTIVE are Temesegen Zeleke on the krar (a 5 or 6 stringed harp), singer Genet Asefa and drummer Grum Begashaw.
The unstoppable trio, dubbed 'the White Stripes of Ethiopia' for their minimalist rocky sound, base their repertoire on traditional Ethiopian songs, but have created a unique style with timeless appeal. Vocals are full of collective cadences and long solo poems; musical stops and starts create an organic syncopation, and the krar can alternate from being lead to rhythm instrument.
Genet is magnetic in performance and recording – her soaring ululations and perfectly delivered melodies fill the spacious sound.
The ancient 6-stringed krar lyre dates far back into Ethiopian history. An important part of the Ethiopian azmari minstrel tradition, the krar is steeped in the practice of wandering troubadours performing in cafes around the country, while legend has it that the instrument itself descends from King David’s lyre. Zeleke gives these traditions a contemporary twist and, in his hands, plugged in and strummed with hypnotic grooves, the krar becomes a gritty, ancient rock guitar. Zeleke is a revolutionary krar player and as a young student was mentored and encouraged by legendary Ethio-jazzman Mulatu Astatke.
The spellbinding rhythms of the double-headed kebero drum provide the trio’s backbeat. Traditionally used to accompany the ancient religious celebrations of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, the kebero finds a new context in the energetic grooves of Krar Collective’s performances.
About the Krar (from WIKIPEDIA):
The krar is a cordophone, and is usually decorated with wood, cloth and beads. Its five or six strings determine the available pitches . The instrument's tonedepends on the musician's playing technique: bowing, strumming or plucking. If plucked, the instrument will produce a soft tone. Strumming will yield a harmonious pulsation.