Juma Sultan’s Aboriginal Music Society
Juma Sultan has a 60-plus year history as a musician, composer, archivist, activist, and educator.
His band, Aboriginal Music Society, has been an evolving collective of musicians for over 50 years, playing a unique, ever-changing, genre-morphing style of music.
The current iteration of the band is a 9-piece exploration of spirit grounded in sound, playing long-form improvisational pieces based on Juma’s original compositions.
Juma has played and collaborated with countless significant individuals — Jimi Hendrix, Archie Shepp, Sonny Simmons, Pharaoh Sanders, James “Blood” Ulmer, Dave Burell, Sam Rivers, and many, many more.
QWANQWA is a supergroup of musicians from the baddest ensembles of Addis Abada, Ethiopia.
Brought together by a shared passion for the power of Ethiopian music, this group shines an experimentalism based in the virtuosity of rooted traditions. With swirling masinko (one-stringed fiddle), wah-wah-violin, bass krar boom, and the unstoppable rhythm of heavy kebero (goat-skin drum) beats, powerful traditional lead African diva vocals, QWANQWA keeps the people wrapped in celebratory attention. After making a splash at world renowned festivals Roskilde and WOMEX, and after 3 European tours under their belt, this world traveling ensemble has hitt the road for a MacArthur Foundation backed Debut US tour.
QWANQWA draws inspiration from East Africa regions of Ethiopia and beyond. Delving deep into regional beats and moods, the repertoire ranges from a trance-like song of the Eritrean tribe of Blen to a Somalian rock number to Mahmoud Ahmed sing-a-longs. The music is characterized by tight arrangements and extended experimental moments. The live show ranges from intimate to wild, from whispery conversations to full blown rock show, and it is hard to believe these psychedelic sounds are coming from traditional harp and violin. It is driving, powerful, and different than anything else coming out of Ethiopia at this current Golden Age of Ethiopian music.
Current members of QWANQWA are Endris Hassen (masinko), Kaethe Hostetter (violin), Bubu Teklemariam (bass krar), Selamnesh Zemene (vocalist), and Misale Legesse (kebero). They have appeared internationally with Getachew Mekuria, The EX, Thurston Moore, Fred Frith, Butch Morris, Debo Band, Nile Project, Fendika, Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu Astatke, Addis Acoustic, Ethiocolor, Atse Teodros, Mohammed “Jimmy” Mohammed, and Imperial Tiger Orchestra, and have played stages from Lincoln Center to Bonnaroo, Jazzfest (New Orleans), Moers Festival, Roskilde, WOMEX, WOMAD and more.