Revolutionaries in the Ethiopian music scene have been coming somewhat every other generation. The first of his kind in Ethiopia and internationally acclaimed musician Mulatu Astatke is and continues to be an inspiration for younger generations to aspire to and set trends as he did. Following his example, Jano Band has become the first of its kind in its genre. Mixing rock and Ethiopian style melody they have taken the country by storm which gave people variety of music they can choose from. Different from the lot, Jano has extended its reach far and wide with new projects, writes Senait Feseha.
After a long wait since they released their first album Ertale, the rock music group, Jano Band is set to release their second album ‘Lerasehe New ’ literally meaning ‘it is for you’ next Thursday. The album has 16 songs and has touched social, historical, physiological, and cultural aspects of Ethiopian society. They mixed the album at a studio in Italy. Song writer, Yilma Geber Abe also participated in the album which will be distributed by Kistete.
Dibekulu Tafesse, a member of the band said they are excited. “We have great respect from our fans, from the people and we’ve worked hard to make this album even better.’’ Jano normally uses a studio around Aware and have plans a big concert to launch the album.
The band consists of two female vocalists, two male lead vocalists and six musicians who play bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, keyboards and a drum.
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.
Celebrated Ethiopian music group, Jano Band, make their debut on Coke Studio Africa this year, collaborating with South African avant-garde soul/R&B singer: Shekhinah. The pair will be produced by acclaimed music producer Gemini Major. Speaking in Nairobi during the recording of the show, Jano Band said: “Being on Coke Studio Africa is very nice – this is the biggest platform for connecting African artists. Our collaboration with Shekinah is the best experience so far. Her way of singing is so different from ours – it’s the way she puts words together, and the way she feels the music. Our genres are different so sharing that energy while together on the same stage is going to be wonderful.”
On the other hand, Shekhinah will also be featuring on Coke Studio’s special episode dubbed ‘Global Fusion Edition’ alongside Ethiopian music star Betty G, 10 other African stars and the American R&B/pop star – Jason Derulo. Speaking at a Coke Studio Africa Nairobi Press Conference, Shekhinah thanked Coke Studio for the opportunity, saying, “Not a lot of female artists from my country get this opportunity. Coke Studio Africa has opened a lot of African borders, I never knew Ethiopia had such amazing good music and I would have never dreamt about collaborating with African artists if I didn’t step out of my own country and stop focusing on myself,” adding, “Thanks Coke Studio Africa for allowing me to collaborate and understand other cultures, this is amazing!”
According to Coca-Cola brand manager for Ethiopia Tigist Getu, Coke Studio Africa creates a tremendous opportunity for artists to shine globally. “Being part of such a platform which connects Africa through music is amazing. Through the experience it helps artists to grow professionally. I believe it will do the same for Jano Band. Not only will it expose their music to the global audience, but it also creates other opportunities for Ethiopia and the band’s name to glisten on the international music arena”.
While in Nairobi, Jano Band announced that they are working on releasing their second album in Ethiopia. The album was recorded in Italy and America. They said, “We are planning to collaborate with more artists from Africa and abroad including Shekhinah. That will give us the energy and the platform to create and express our feelings and culture throughout the world.”
Jano Band is an ethio–rock fusion band from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They are known for fusing and blending bass, heavy guitars, drums, electronic sounds with a hint of reggae. Jano Band came into the limelight in 2011, as a result of a nationwide talent search by renowned music manager Addis Gesesse and Ethiopian entrepreneur Ermisa Amelgafor. In 2012, they released their first album “ERTALE”. The album was published by Trio Entertainment Pic and Rock the World Music. The successful release of their album propelled them to the international markets such as Europe, America, Dubai and Britain where they held successful shows.