Trek From Ethiopia


    After a decade of listening to traditional Ethiopian music, both pop music from the Golden age  of the 60’s and 70’s, and folk music played on indigenous instruments, and culminating in a 2 year journey with boston-based Debo Band, i composed “trek from Ethiopia.”

    The original version was composed as a solo violin work for my wife, violinist Mimi rabson.  Meant to cross a wide path of genres, I took the modal ethiopian pentatonic scales and traditional rhythmic gestures, and married that to contemporary western jazz and contemporary classical practices.   Trek is a personal expression of the impression Ethiopia , it’s music and people , had on me as a composer.

    It was always my intention to have “Trek from Ethiopia” exist in several forms.  After the solo violin project, I brought the piece to Debo Band, and thanks to a grant from Berklee, I was able to record them performing the 2 movement suite, now adapted to feature musicians who live and breath new life into old traditions. HEre is the instrumental version of Trek Part 1, performed by Debo .

I always imagined that Trek would have an additional life as expressed by the wildly talented Jazz Composers ORchestra, who’ve I had the great honor of being associated with for the last 20 years.  Soon to come, their interpretation, as expressed in the most forward of improvised music, with English lyrics sung and interpreted by fellow composer and vocalist Warren senders.

here is a solo trombone version ( with loop and fx pedals) of the first movement of “trek from Ethiopia”, performed live at a faculty concert at New england conservatory in 2011

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here is Trek part 1, DEbo version with vocals in Amharic , with photos from my tour of Addis Ababa with Debo in 2010

I will always be in debt to Bruck Tesfaye, lead singer of  Debo, for translating and interpreting my first-ever lyrics/poem into amharic.