Girma Beyene, a titan of Ethiopian jazz, and his comeback
Multiflora Productions and Ethiopian composer, arranger, vocalist and pianist, Girma Beyene
After three decades of absence, the popular Ethiopian composer, arranger, vocalist and pianist, Girma Beyene joined some old friends in Washington, DC’s premier Ethio Jazz ensemble, Feedel Band, for four performances in Washington, DC, New York City, and Richmond, Virginia. Girma who was active during the golden age of vinyl (1969-1978) only recorded four songs as a vocalist, but arranged more than 60 titles and collaborated to at least 25 other tracks. His four tracks recorded for Amha Records in 1969, Set Alamenem, Enken Yelebesh, Ene Negn Bay Manesh, and Yebequagnal were remastered and released by Francis Falceto on the acclaimed Ethiopiques 8: Swingin Addis album. It was a great honor for Multiflora Productions to handle the booking for these special and rare appearances of such an important figure in modern music.
We would like to thank everyone who participated and facilitated these shows: Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC, Isabel Soffer of Live@365 and Live Sounds, The Elebash Recital Hall, Brooklyn College, CUNY, Hardywood Craft Brewery in Richmond, Virginia, and Plan 9 Records.
Chris Richards of the Washington Post wrote, “When Girma Beyene serenades Washington on Friday night, it should feel like a halfway-homecoming. The great Ethiopian singer, lyricist and arranger first found himself in the District way back in 1981 during a tour in the Walias Band, one of Ethiopia’s most revered jazz troupes. Beyene liked the District enough to stay — but not for good. After many years in the area, he eventually returned to Addis Ababa. It was there, during the 1960s and ’70s, where Beyene had been a major player in one of the planet’s most electrifying music scenes. After co-founding the Alem-Girma Band alongside the great vocalist Alemayehu Eshete, Beyene became a highly esteemed arranger, generating more than 65 songs during what many consider to be the golden years of “Swinging Addis.” (Among those tunes: the deeply beloved and consummately funky “Muziqawi Silt,” popularized by Hailu Mergia, another giant of Ethiopian song who still lives in the Washington area.)”
Read the full article in the Washington Post HERE