Qwanqwa “takes traditional music and rocks it up a bit” (Byron Coley, The Wire) and “for sure is an incredible experimental traditional Ethiopian rock group that deserves to be played in every living room, at every party and on every radio station from Gondar to Santa Cruz.” (Addis Rumble blog). If you’ve heard the golden age of Ethiopian pop as immortalized by the Ethiopiques series some more recent releases on Mississippi records, and wondered why no one was rocking like that in the now – you can stop wondering. They’re doing it. You just didn’t get to hear it yet. Qwanqwa bridges generations and continents, making a huge sound that you can only hear if you’re here, right now.
Groovy and familiar, yet stimulating and heady, the tunes swim through your aural consciousness, providing equal parts enjoyment and confoundment. Qwanqwa vibes with appreciators all types, be it indie blog-followers, jazz enthusiasts, afrobeaters, music theory heads, hippies, or coffee drinkers reading the New York Times.
Inter-generational and inter-continental, Qwanqwa consists of Ethiopian musicians Mesele Asmamaw (electric krar), Dawit Seyoum (electric bass krar), and Samson Sendekou (percussion), and American violinist Kaethe Hostetter (also of Boston-based Ethio-funk band Debo Band), who formed Qwanqwa after moving to Addis Ababa in 2012 to fully immerse herself in the ocean that is Ethiopian music. Volume Two is their second album, recorded at Langano Studios in Addis Ababa in 2014.
released September 1, 2015
Recorded at Langano Studio, Addis Ababa, 2014.
Production and mixing – Surafel Aseres
Mastered by Shelly Steffens, Chicago Mastering Service
Mesele Asmamaw, electric krar
Kaethe Hostetter, 5-string violin
Dawit Seyoum, electric bass krar
Samson Sendekou, kebero/percussion
This song makes me smile everytime I hear it :) I also love the last track Idagi Achinane - I don't understand the lyrics but I find it really moving. The whole album is great - it's a favourite now. Amy Plumb
It's generating a huge response, scoring a total of 93 points in meta-critics. AllMusic described the album as "a record that has complex content but is easily and confidently delivered with lyrics and a combination of jazz throngs and exquisite rhythms," and NME gives it a perfect score of five, describing it as a completely flawless record. A record that doesn't always fall on this year's list of albums of 2018 released by many media outlets. jwsmusic