The connection between Ethiopia and Jamaica dates back to the 1930s, when Jamaican Leonard Howell founded the Rastafarian movement. Inspired by Marcus Garvey’s teachings, Howell propagated that Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I was the black Messiah. Selassie visited Jamaica in 1966 and the Ethiopian Amharic language has been taught on the island for decades. Musically, the two nations have not collaborated often, although there are Ethiopian reggae bands, as well as Jamaican Rastas, living on land in Ethiopia donated to them by Selassie.
In recent years, Ethiopia’s 1960s and '70s jazz and traditional pop music roots have been revealed to new audiences via the multi-part Ethiopiques compilation series. These rare tracks inspired British producer Dubulah (a.k.a. Nick Page) to link with contemporary Ethiopian musicians and create Dub Colossus, a new collaborative project that blends Azmari singing, '70s reggae and Ethio-pop in a true mesh of Ethiopian and Jamaican sounds.
Dub Colossus’ new EP, A Town Called Addis, dropped in June, while the project’s debut album, partially recorded and mixed at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios, is out soon. Page recorded the bulk of the music in the Ethiopian capital city, Addis Ababa, in August 2006. Previously, Page had co-founded world music-meets-dub-dance groups Trans-Global Underground and Temple of Sound and worked with artists Natacha Atlas and Cheb I Sebah. Catch the jazzy, breezy sounds of Town Called Addis now, featuring exclusive tracks not on the forthcoming album.
A Town Called Addis
01 Azmari Dub
02 Shegye Shegitu (One Drop mix)
03 Neh Yelginete
04 Ambassel In Box