Ethiopia’s Jano Band is breaking up due to financial difficulties and disagreements on ownership, according to a local publication.
Ethiopian radio personality Dereje Ayalew, popularly known as DJ Kingston, was quoted by the Ethiopia Observer as saying that the band members had been entangled in a bitter dispute about the future of the group and its ownership for some time. Additionally, the band had been struggling financially forcing some of the members to demand for an equal share of income.
“The wrangles within the band began when some of the band members demanded that the income generated from live shows and album sales be shared equally,” Ayalew said about the band that was assembled by Ethiopian band manager and concert promoter Addis Gessesse.
“This idea was disputed by the band’s manger, Samuel Tefer, who also legally owns the registered Jano trademark,” Ayalew said.
The band, which has been performing together for six years, is known for fusing traditional Ethiopian music with jazz and progressive rock. The band released its first album Ertale in 2012 and was in the process of finalising a second offering before news of the break-up was publicised.
Before Ertale’s release five years ago, legendary New York-based producer Bill Laswell praised the band for its innovative sound.
“These are modern instruments but it does not overlook the kirar, it does not overlook masinko, it does not overlook the traditional singing, the church music and the power of the tradition,” Laswell told Tadias magazine. “It does not take that for granted. They don’t join the ranks of Ethiopian music, they break the rules.”
Ayalew said: “Before the members can each go their separate ways, an agreement has to be reached on when the album will be released and how each member will be compensated from the album sales.”
The band recently made its debut on Coke Studio Africa, which also features a number of other Ethiopian artists. Memorable moments for the Ethiopian TV audience will be Betty G’s collaboration with American singer Jason Derulo, Asgegnew Ashko’s collaboration with Ugandan star Sheebah and Jano Band’s collaboration with South Africa’s Shekinah. The first episode of Coke Studio Africa was broadcast in Ethiopia yesterday.