by Little Ethiopia
Krar Collective Celebrate Horn of Africa Music on Africa stage at the London Olympics
July 23, 2013 marks the 121 Birthday of the iconic Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I that coincides within the one-year celebration,in the Washington D.C. region, of the 50th Anniversary of the Founding of the Organization of the African Unity ( OAU ) by Little Ethiopia DC . On that day, there were two very important events that were held in the Capital City of the United States of America of Washington DC that are directly related to the Ethiopian/African Diaspora. In the morning starting at 8:30 A.M, there was a one day Conference entitled: ” Beyond the Election in Zimbabwe ” organized by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in and an Ethiopian cultural performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts by the ” Krar Collective. ” from Ethiopia.
Zimbabweans will go to the polls on Wednesday to elect a president and a parliament in an election that will mark the end of the troubled coalition government between veteran President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. For the Ethiopians, it is the reminder of the country that gave refuge to the ruthless, communist dictator Colonel Megistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia who cowardly fled after killing Emperor Haile Selassie I and over one million Ethiopians between 1974 and 1991.
The krar Collectives: an Ethiopian Music Band from London, England who gained prominence after they played at the London Olympics representing Ethiopia and who organized the East Africa group from Somalia and Djibouti. The krar have shown the magnificence of the Ethiopian Culture from Europe to Asia. They have played in Canada and India as well participated in highly recognized world wide music festivals including the Africa Express that had participants from 80 countries.
Temesegn Zelekke on the Krar with singer Genet Asefa and Drummer Grum Begashaw
Temesgen Zeleke on the Krar ( a 5 or 6 stringed harp) , singer Genet Asefa, and drummer Grum Begashaw. The Kennedy Center announcing their performance proudly wrote: The Trio dubbed ” white stripes of Ethiopia,” for their minimalist rocky sound, bases their repertoire on traditional Ethiopian Songs, but has created a unique style with timeless appeal. Vocals are full of collective cadeneces and long solo poems;musical stops and starts create an organic syncopation , and the Krar can alternate from being lead to rhythm instrument.
Genet is magnetic performance and recording -her soaring ululations and perfectly delivered melodies fill the spacious sound. The ancient six-stringed krar lyre dates far back into Ethiopian history. An important part of Ethiopian azmari minstrel tradition, the krar is steeped in the practice of wandering troubadours performing in cafes around the country, while legend has it that the instrument itself descends from King David’s lyre. Zeleke gives these traditions a contemporary twist and, in his hands, plugged in and strummed with hypnotic grooves,the krar becomes a gritty, ancient rock guitar. Zeleke is a revolutionary krar player and as a young student was mentored and encouraged by legendary Ethio-jazzman Mulatu Astatke.
The spellbinding rhythms of the double-headed kebero drum provide the trio’s backbeat. Traditionally used to accompany the ancient religious celebration of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, the kebero finds a new context in the energetic grooves of Krar Collective’s performances.
The Lead Performers of Kerar Collective seen with Mulatu Astatke ( Father of Ethiopian Jazz)