- This event has passed.
Global Sounds on the Hill: Feat. Ethiopian Ensemble Qwanqwa in Concert
Monday, November 14, 2022 @ 7:00 pm$18.00
This event has passed
Curated and hosted by iconic DC impressario and musician Jim Thomson.
Making their US tour debut, Qwanqwa (the Amharic word for “language”) brings a shared passion for the power of Ethiopian music through experimentation and the virtuosity of rooted traditions. With swirling masinko (one-stringed fiddle), wah-wah-violin, bass krar boom, and the unstoppable rhythm of heavy kebero (goat-skin drum) beats, powerful traditional lead African diva vocals, Qwanqwa keeps its audiences wrapped in celebratory attention. After making a splash at world-renowned festivals Roskilde and WOMEX, and with 3 European tours under their belt, this world traveling ensemble is hitting the road for a MacArthur Foundation-backed US debut tour in 2022.
“Hypnotic and groovy” -Tom Schnabel, Rhythm Planet/KCRW
“The band cooks with spare, snappy grooves grounded in percussion but rich with melodies… Recorded amid rising political turmoil in Ethiopia and finished in time for a 2020 tour that was not to be, all of which makes its arrival that much more welcome.” -Banning Eyre, Afropop Worldwide
Beer, wine, and other concessions will be available for purchase!
Qwanqwa draws inspiration from the East Africa regions of Ethiopia and beyond. Delving deep into regional beats and moods, their repertoire ranges from a trance-like song of the Eritrean tribe of Blen to a Somalian rock number to Mahmoud Ahmed sing-a-longs. The music is characterized by tight arrangements and extended experimental moments. The live show ranges from intimate to wild, from whispery conversations to full blown rock show — it is hard to believe these psychedelic sounds are coming from traditional harp and violin! It is driving, powerful, and different than anything else coming out of Ethiopia at this current Golden Age of Ethiopian music.
The ensemble was founded in 2012 by American violinist Kaethe Hostetter, who first worked in Ethiopian music as a founding member of critically acclaimed Debo Band, and features a virtual supergroup of musicians from the greatest bands of Addis Ababa.
About Jim Thomson: Jim Thomson owns and operates the Brooklyn and Washington, DC-based boutique record label Electric Cowbell Records. He currently runs Multiflora Productions out of Washington, DC, a multifaceted, multicultural agency that specializes in expanding the reach of genre-bending roots-to-the-future music through artist management, event marketing, and music releases. In 2014 he became the music coordinator for the Capital Fringe Festival and also programs the “Fringe Music in the Library” series, which offers free live music in the DC Public Libraries through a sponsorship from the DC Public Library Foundation. He played drums in GWAR, Alter-Natives, Bio Ritmo, and CSC Funk Band. He currently plays drums in the DC-based band, Time Is Fire, which is fronted by an Iranian-born Sufi poet and backed by players steeped in punk, dance, and experimental music. Jim is currently an editor-at-large for The Vinyl District, an indie record store blog that focuses on the vinyl record medium.