Ethiopian crunch


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After a short intermission the French-Ethiopian group UKANDANZ is back. Still led by the charismatic singer Asnake Gebreyes Ethiopian rhythms and melodies are paired to pop, rock, jazz and nowadays electronics too, which results in an unique style.

Aesthetes know it very well. Whether in music or alcohol, craziest mixtures can create the strongest emotions. Ukandanz’ cocktail proved it already, yet it is coming back again with an explosive formula. Ethiopia’s ancient beats keeps being shaken by garage rock and libertarian jazz… If you wondered if the Swinging Addis’ heart was still beating, we know who is handling  the electroshock therapy nowadays!

During a dozen years of trips and five albums, Ukandanz gained a reputation in the world of globalized music. The band is back for a new chapter towards the sources of its music. The modern cantor and electric griot Asnake Gebreyes is pointing the direction. They love as much getting lost in crossroads as gathering together in detours…

The fuel of this modern trance machine remains in the Ethiopic soul, with two fundamental elements: the elastic voice of one of the greatest figures of the present Addis Adeba’s scene (Asnake Gebreyes) and the compositions of Damien Cluzel, who is never more comfortable than experiencing musical or cultural crossovers. As far as the physical existence of the band is concerned, it’s all about rock energy and in improvisation catharsis (and vice versa).

Damien Cluzel switches from guitar to bass without losing any electricity and he opens up a new field of possibilities in terms of composition. The lifelong partner Lionel Martin blows hot and cold with a sound footprint that irradiates up to the silences that come along. Fred Escoffier, keyboard player, who has proved his rhythmical solidity with the fine fleur of French jazz, returns with his virtuosity and his appetite for limitless improvisation. It is up to the rookie Thomas Pierre, tremendous drummer with a wide range of shades, to complete the polyrhythmic construct in order to support music that is inspired by traditions and modernity at the same time.

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Francis de Souza



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