Ethiopia is the ground from which the new pieces of E&EII have grown. Sometimes it is the bouncy dance rhythms, specific to Ethiopian music. Sometimes it is a melody, sometimes traditional instruments from the country. But this is just the rich and fertile soil. What emerges from it has taken on a vibrant life of its own. This is strong, heady and heavy stuff. There’s jazzy harmonies. There’s sinuous explorations on a soprano saxophone; a trumpet that may be laidback and tearful, but may also explode in ecstatic wild goose chases; mellow and wry keyboard notes; a baritone sax that strives to outdo an alpha male lion. There’s a guitar, now plucking a headbutting backbeat, now soaring to musical heavens. But first and foremost here is a band so tight you wouldn’t be able to wedge a needle in. The tightness doesn’t, however, preclude a loose handling of rhythm. Just as the Ethiopian ground base doesn’t keep the musicians from flying, but rather fires them into different unforeseen directions and expanses. If the country’s music is a launch pad, in the hands and minds of Eddy & the Ethiopians it is particularly wild one.
Edward Capel : Saxes & Altklarinet
Bereket Behre Akitu : Krar & Vocals
Bart Maris : Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Laurence Bilger : Flute
Arefayne Bisrat : Masinko
Orkun Agir : Baglama
Mathias Van de Wiele : Guitar
Kenrick Gunther : Vocals & Percussion
Osama Meleegi : Percussion
Bart van Dongen : Piano
Jan van de Lest : Bass
John Maasakkers : Drums
Recordings 2018/19 @ JMDRstudio by John Maasakkers & Edward Capel.
All compositions & arrangements by Edward Capel, except Libey Keykyem by Bereket Behre Akitu & Edward Capel.
All lyrics by Bereket Behre Akitu & Kenrick Gunther
Mixed by Eric van de Lest & Edward Capel
Mastered by Pieter Kloos
Covert art by Bart Maris
E&EII is suported by Stichting Cultuur Eindhoven
The band Eddy & the Ethiopians came out of jam sessions that saxophone player and band leader Edward ‘Eddy’ Capel (based in Eindhoven, NL) did with Ethiopian musicians in 2013. Expanded with musicians from Burkina Faso, Suriname, France and Belgium, who he came across during tours, the band has diversified substantially. Their music, recorded on their debut album, reflects these different backgrounds: a solid ground layer of ‘Ethiopiques’ (Ethiopian bigband styles from the sixties and seventies, that have become known under the name of an extensive cd series) over which they play a scorching mixture of West-African Afrobeat, jazz and funk.
Since then the line-up of the band has changed. In 2017 the Eritrean singer and krar player Bereket Behre Akitu joins Eddy & the Ethiopians. With melodies and rhythms from his homeland he enriches the repertoire of the band. This new admixture of styles is the starting point for basic compositions by Edward Capel, to which the other musicians add their lines. The pieces that have come out of this procedure, have been released on their second CD, E&EII. The current band comprises fewer Ethiopians than the original line-up. Therefore the name Eddy & the Ethiopians is, if anything, a tribute to the music that still serves as inspiration.