London to Addis

by No Hats No Hoods Records

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about

London to Addis is a pioneering Grime instrumental compilation, combining for the first time traditional Ethiopian instruments and an all-star line-up of Grime producers. The release covers the full spectrum of the Grime sound - from the direct percussive bangers of Dexplicit, Ignorants, J Beatz and TC4, melodies of JT The Goon, Wize and Shudan, to the more experimental and abstract sounds of Proc Fiskal and Captain Over. The aim of the project was to bring together the two very different worlds of Grime and traditional Ethiopian Music and explore what can be created by fusing these two styles and exchange knowledge.

Traditional Ethiopian music uses pentatonic scales and different time signatures which inspired the Grime producers to explore and experiment outside of their comfort zone. Tracks such as Ignorants - Uncolonised - the first 3/4 time signature Grime track pays homage to some of Ethiopia's traditional styles and rhythm, whilst incorporating them into a Grime sound.

Recorded over a week in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, the instruments used are just a small sample of the huge range of Ethiopia's rich musical heritage which remains largely undocumented outside of the country. Whilst the music of west-African music from countries such as Ghana and Nigeria are more well known in the UK, Ethiopia's music uniquely combines both African and more Arabic sounds and rhythms as a result of its proximity to the middle east.

The 4 instruments recorded were the Masinko, Krar, Washint, Drums as well as traditional vocalists. The Masinko is a single-stringed fiddle made from horses tail and hide that is throughout Ethiopia by several groups, including the Amhara, the Tigreans and Oromo. The Krar is a traditional  5 stringed lyre. Different techniques such as bowing, strumming and plucking can be used to create a variety of sounds and tones. The Washint is a wooden flute usually made of bamboo with four finger holes. Washint players normally have a large range of flutes to enable them to play in different keys. 

4 additional bonus tracks from the project are made available exclusively on the Bandcamp release.

Shudan: “I found it inspiring to riff on the Ethiopian sounds; it allowed me to navigate a refreshing unexplored space. I spend a lot of time thinking about how we can push the sound of Grime and bring something new to the table, instead of returning to the old sounds. I think we can move forwards by combining new concepts and ideas like this project.”

Dexplicit: “My favourite instrument to work with was the Washint, as Ermias Nadew plays with a real freedom. The challenge for making my track was keeping this vibe and freedom whilst making it fit with a 140bpm Grime track which I really enjoyed”

Darkness: “Working on this project has been interesting because of the selection of samples and sounds given and the task of flipping traditional Ethiopian instruments and sounds into another style of music is always going to give the song, in the end, a different flair and vibe. I opted to use more of the percussive sounds on my beat because of the groove and the kind of texture the percussions have.”

The release is the first part of No Hats No Hoods Records 'Ethiopiyawi Meets Grime' collaboration with Ethiopian Records that will also see a live performance in Addis Abba, a documentary, freestyles and vocal projects featuring Kenyan, Ethiopian and UK musicians. No Hats No Hoods first worked in Ethiopia whilst directing Elf Kid's - Reload That video, the first UK music video to be shot in the country. Meeting with producers and musicians on this trip provided the inspiration for the project. 

credits

released March 13, 2019

Wahint: Ermias Nadew
Kebero: Bilelegne Deresse - Kebero
Krar / Mesenqo - Wondemeneh Kifle
Mesenqo / Male Vocals - Tezazu Mulat
Mimi Mulugen - Female Vocals
Engineer and Producer: Chris Hodgson
Artwork: Haaris Sarkar
Executive Producers; Peter Todd & Trevor Henry

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