Selamnesh Zemene & Badume Band

ethiopia / france

The evocative, funky sound of Addis Ababa

Anyone who’s ever purred with pleasure at any release in the fabulous Ethiopiques series of reissues that dug out gems from the golden years of Ethiopian music will very much appreciate this collaboration between Ethiopian singer Selamnesh Zemene and the Breton outfit Badume Band. Hailing from the north of the country, Selamnesh’s voice is tremendously soulful, one that can both soar and smoulder. Fire and ice, for sure. While their passports might be French, the deeply funky Badume Band have their hearts very much in East Africa. Having previously backed the mighty Mahmoud Ahmed on his visits to WOMAD, their replication of that classic Addis Ababa sound is both heartfelt and note-perfect. This promises to be a stirring, steamy evocation of Ethiopian music’s gilded age, albeit with one eye on where next the tradition will be heading.

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