Seifu on EBS: Jano Band Interview with Seifu on New Album
A number of music critiques lament Ethiopian music as something that has “stuck in the past”. But with Jano Addis’s instinct and energy is up for something high.
Having listened to the preview of a soon-to-be launched ten track debut album entitled “Ertale”, named after a place in Eastern Ethiopia where a volcano comes to an extraordinary active lava, one could easily get the sense of Addis’s vision. Jano’s tempo is nothing like Ethiopian musias we know it. It audaciously breaks the rules of the familiar melody to bring about a new rocking sensation.
Jano has a unique way of showing the flare of its members, who, some of them came from different gospel choirs. The fusion of Ethiopian music with Rock is a complete detachment from the long tradition of music norm. But the songs are partly written by the band members themselves and partly by Yilma Gabreab, a popular Ethiopian song writer. The result is the first ever rock band in Ethiopia.
While some of the band members have been heavily influenced by rock stars such as the Rolling Stones and Metallica, others have been influenced by jazz, pop and reggae. This diverse background of the members can be clearly seen in the unique sound of their music that takes its nuances from an eclectic assortment of styles that, deep down, didn’t abandon an Ethiopian flavor.
The audio and video of “Ayrak” a single track from the upcoming debut album “Ertale” have quickly become popular on most FM radio and a few state owned TV stations in Ethiopia. Organizers said the aim of this premiere was to launch the new sound of the new band to the Ethiopian audience. A Youtube version of the video has also generated many hits.
In an interview with this magazine, lead guitarist Michael Hailu said, “Rock is already a very aggressive and outrageous sound so we are trying to get the ears of the crowd by bringing this unknown sound from the melodies we created.”
Sponsored by Ermiyas Amelga, an Ethiopian business tycoon who says the money (around 1.3 million birr so far) he spent in the making of Jano was “all worth it,” rehearsals of the group involved a whole year of practicing together, with up to eight hours daily. Each of the band members were handpicked by Addis Gessesse, who invests part of the money to make Jano happen.
Passionate about their vision, they have seen each other and themselves improving with the training and focus on their one destination – to take Ethiopian music to a world standard. Vocalist Hewan Geberwold confirmed that when she told this magazine, “we want to be known to the world not just for championing in athletics but for our achievement in music with the Jano sound”.