It is an improbable story: one that reunites, a group of young Parisians with the Swingin’ Addis sounds of the seventies. In October 2008, five musicians got together on a wild project: to delve into the repertoire of the Ethiopian golden age, discovered through “Ethiopiques”, the famous series of reissues. “The idea was to transcribe songs from this period and rearrange them to the sound of our times. First off, it eliminated the need to write songs that risked falling into ethio-jazz clichés. The aim was not to bring about some artistic revolution through our work but simply to give and take pleasure by performing this music!” Through this retro-futuristic alchemy, the Akalé Wubé quintet was born: a curious name borrowed from a song by the saxophonist Getatchew Mekurya, a bit of an old-fashioned expression which can by translated as “my beautiful” in amharic.
“Since our very first concert in December 2008 we were surprised by the audience’s enthusiasm.” Since then, Akalé Wubé have played a series of concerts, refining a retro sound which resounds perfectly with the contemporary aesthetic of a generation of musicians that juggle genres around.
Funk, reggae, jazz, tango… “All of this is found in the vocabulary and aesthetic of the ethiopian productions of the sixties and seventies. It is a cross-bred style of music – so much so, that even by sticking to the repertoire, it can be taken in different directions…” A mix of stripped-down funk soul and smart pop, of garage rock and vintage jazz, this spatiotemporal collision ultimately invites us to a fresh journey in sound, guided by the good sense of groove.