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Noise_Problems on 02/24/2013 at 01:09PM

Imperial Tiger Orchestra´s Raphael Anker

Stress.fm and Noise Problems caught up with Raphael Anker trumpetist and founder of the Imperial Tiger Orchestra, Geneva´s own Ethiopian music band, at the FMMSines World Music Festival in Portugal last summer.

With Malinese songstress Oumou Sangare performing on the background we spoke to Raphael about some of the main ideas behind his project, Ethiopian music and culture and about the crisis in Europe.

What have Imperial Tiger been doing this last few months?

There are two diferent things now. Weve been working with Hamelmal Abate which is a great singer from Ethiopia and we also have an instrumental project in a sextet. We are working on these two projects always based on Ethiopian music. 

We have seen you talk about the collection Ethiopiques. What have brought you to this culture and this country and what is your relationship with Ethiopia?

Ethiopia called me, she called me (laughing). A friend was traveling in Sudan and Yemen and from Sudan he had tapes from Ethiopia and when he was back to Geneva we were one evening talking till late night and he made me listen to this music and I was like uau and all that east Africa sound just attracted me. There are several different scales which are really unique and that's what attract me to it.

Have you been there recently? What is your look on the situation in terms of urban culture because we know that this music and the collection at some point  was considered too popular and almost like the devils music and the government cracked down on the labels and artists so how do you feel about the coming back of this modern music?

Recently no. We been in Ethiopia two years ago with the band.  Its complicated everything is related to politics, the golden age was related to Haile Selassie then was Derg and Mengistu time which was hard for music. But that was also a new start for Ethiopian music, strangely, we might think that it was a period very bad which in one way its true but in another it was also ok because many new artists emerged in this period. Ok its not as great as the big bands and what we know about the great recordings of Mahmoud Ahmed but there was also something. And this was the 80s then 90s and now 2000´s there is a lot of artists coming in and we are a bit to fixed to this golden era syndrome in everything in every music, for example in festivals music from Ghana is French Ghana from 70s retro feeling. its good because its amazing music but theres is also a lot of new musicians who are struggling…We have to be careful with the golden era syndrome which is beautiful but now 2012 we have to move forward and…voila that's what I have to say about that hehe.


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Noise_Problems on 02/13/2012 at 10:55AM

Imperial Tiger Orchestra

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lizb on 08/12/2010 at 11:00AM

Ethio sounds

It's been nearly 2 years since WFMU and Lincoln Center brought Ethiopian stars Getachew Mekurya, Mahmoud Ahmed, and Alemayehu Eshete to the states for an amazing night of music at Damrosch Park in Manhattan with the Ex, Either/Orchestra, and Extra Golden. Since then, my Ethio music habit has been limited to pre-recorded sounds from a bygone era via the wonderful and ongoing Ethiopiques series, and occasional tips from Doug Schulkind's radio show or blog posts.

Needless to say, I was absolutely delighted to find the Debo Band's latest 7" (Adderech Arada) kicking around in WFMU's new bin a few weeks ago, and thanks to Ampeater Music, the Kiddid remix of "Adderech Arada" is now here on the FMA. The remix is a great modern take on the traditional classic (the unremixed version of the song on the 7" was actually recorded in Addis Ababa).

The FMA is also hosting a fantastic live set that the Debo Band recorded here at WFMU last year on Rob Weisberg's program.

The band is from Massachussets, so check 'em out live if you're in the Boston/New England area!

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ethiopia, debo band