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Music, Performance & Film

QWANQWA: Psychedelic Roots from Addis Ababa

Thu, Apr 11th 7:30 pm in the The Theater

General Admission
Members Tickets
Roots of Creativity

QWANQWA uncovers lesser known traditional sounds from East Africa regions of Ethiopia and beyond—a trance-like chant of the Eritrean tribe of Blen, a psychedelic Somalian cover, an extended Amhara wedding medley, a Mahmoud Ahmed sing-a-long. With Selamnesh Zemene, the Azmari diva powerhouse, at the helm, QWANQWA is a conversation of virtuosos through 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 harps, one string fiddle, and violin. Driving and powerful, QWANQWA proves we are living during another Golden Age of Ethiopian music.

The ensemble was founded in 2012 by American violinist Kaethe Hostetter, who first worked in Ethiopian music as a founding member of critically acclaimed Debo Band. Relocating to Addis in 2009, she participated in numerous exploratory and professional projects, immersing further into the culture of her surroundings. In this sense, QWANQWA, the Amharic word for “language,” is a project creating dialogues between cultures. QWANQWA was a featured performance at Roskilde 2016 (Northern Europe’s biggest music festival), and have toured three times in Europe. QWANQWA have released three albums: Volume One (2014), Volume Two (2015), and Volume Three (2020).

Band Members

Misale Legesse | Kebero & Percussion
Anteneh “Bubu” Teklemariam Barago | Bass Krar
Selamnesh Zemene Taye | Vocalist
Kaethe Hostetter | Violin
Endres “Endris” Hassan Ahmed | Masinqo

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