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Quite unexpectedly, last year, while here in Europe for several summer festivals, Getatchew Mekuria at the age of 76, expressed an urge to make one more recording. With The Ex. Probably the last one in his life. A great responsibility!
We recorded in December, in Wormerveer and Addis Abeba. The result is stunning. Deep, old, classic melodies. Very different from the last one. Instrumental, more sensitive and fragile, deeper. Amazing horn riffs and solos, but also danceable, with up-tempo war-chants. Many things. He called it “Y'Anbessaw Tezeta” (In Memory Of The Lion). Memories of 65 years of playing music! But also always new and forward.
But there is more. We wanted to make something special. We added an extra CD, with some historical recordings, including Getatchew and the Instant Composers Pool (ICP), Haile Selassie 1 Theatre Orchestra (1960!) and a live performance with The Ex in Montreal. Plus a 40-page booklet with great photos by many photographers. Matias Corral specially came to Addis to shoot some Getatchew portraits in addition to his already striking black + white live photos. We decided to make this a benefit CD for Getatchew. Everyone contributed for free. After almost 65 years of playing music, we thought this amazing person deserves some kind of pension!
The first time we met Getatchew was early 2004. We were intrigued by his music which we knew from an old cassette. What an original sound! We went to Addis to find him. Getatchew agreed right away to come to Holland for our 25th anniversary party in Amsterdam in November 2004. He played with the ICP and he loved it, but he was also intrigued by The Ex and wanted to play and record with us. We invited some great horn players and things have never stopped since. We recorded the “Moa Anbessa” CD and in some eight years we've done almost a hundred concerts in 15 countries; jazz, world music and rock festivals, and venues all over the world. Lincoln Centre Out of Doors in New York, the French 8 o'clock news with 8 million viewers, Rio Loco in Toulouse to 20.000 people and broadcasted on TV in Ethiopia.
Getatchew Mekuria (tenor saxophone) The Ex: Arnold de Boer (trumpet), Terrie Hessels (guitar), Andy Moor (guitar), Katherina Bornefeld (drums). Friends: Xavier Charles (clarinet), Ken Vandermark (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet), Brodie West (alto saxophone), Joost Buis (trombone), Wolter Wierbos (trombone), Colin McLean (bass), Melaku Belay (dance).
Recorded December 6/7 2011, February 24/28 2012, April 5/23 2012 in Jottum, Wormerveer, Holland, and May 3 2012 in Fendika, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. Engineer Jottem: Maarten Tap. Co-engineered: Andy + Arnold. Engineer Addis: Arnold. Mixed by Arnold + Andy at Andy's home and in Jottum. Mastered by Frank van der Weij.
Artwork: Emma Fischer. Photos by Matias Corral, Emma Fischer, Andy Moor, Pavel Stráẑay, Nanni Angeli, Barbora Fabianova, Christina Halstrom, Nick Helderman, Leul Mekonnen, Paul Till. The Getatchew archival photos come from his own private photo-albums.
Produced by The Ex.
Digital album available from Bandcamp.