Ethiopia's Fantahun Shewankochew to release new album in Canada

Exiled Ethiopian musician Fantahun Shewankochew is set to release his new album, Adera, at the Alliance Francaise de Toronto theatre in Canada on Saturday 2 April.

Ethiopian artist Fantahun Shewankochew. Photo:
Ethiopian artist Fantahun Shewankochew. Photo:

Adera (literally meaning 'an undertaking') is a rediscovery of Ethio-jazz, traditional and popular Ethiopian music with a modern twist. Fantahun has apparently been working on the album for the past two years. Though his fifth album, Adera is Fantahun’s first recording done in Toronto since he emigrated there in 2011.

Fans of Ethiopian music can look forward to a 12-track album with songs such as ‘Yene Alem’ (my darling), ‘Yidmek Chewatachin’ (let's swing), ‘Libe Birhan’, ‘Eshi Abet’ (yes ma'am!) and ‘Yalgodele Yelem’ (everything is amiss). 

According to the Batuki Music Society, who are working with the artist on his upcoming album, the plan is to first release the album in Canada and Ethiopia. The album will also be sent to various stores across North America, Europe, Australia and Africa to reach as many Ethiopians in the diaspora as possible, as well as music fans across the globe. Plans are also underway for Fantahun to tour various cities to support the release of the new album.

Fantahun Shewankochew is an accomplished krar player, vocalist, composer and arranger. Inspired by the late Tilahun Gessesse to pursue a musical career, he is experienced in both traditional and popular music from Ethiopia.

On 2 April he will be joined by the Ethio-Zema ensemble at the album release concert. The Ethio-Zema ensemble is composed of talented musicians and artists based in Toronto, including Fantahun Shewankochew on vocals and acoustic krar, Daniel Barnes on drums, Tom Juhas on guitar, Simeon Abbott on piano, Liam Smith on bass, John Maclean on saxophone, Steve Dyte on trumpet and Paul Tarusov on trombone. 

Adera is the follow-up to Fantahun's earlier albums Kiraren, Min Yelelesh Ale, Shegnichesh Semeles and Beyikirta. He was also featured on the compilations Ethiopie Chants d'Amour and Sounds of Sheba.

For more details visit the Batuki Music Society's Facebook event page.



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