CARHAIX-PLOUGUER: The result of an unexpected encounter between Breton musicians and the enchanting canyons of Ethiopian singer Selamnesh Zéméné, the band Badume packed France’s Vieilles Charrues festival Friday evening with lyrical excursions of rock music in the morning.
Wearing a traditional embroidered white dress, the singer with her charming voice, from the Azeri troubadour nomadic community, had her audience swing on the pentatonic scales.
He was accompanied on stage by percussion instruments, drums, keyboard and bass, instead of electric guitar, accordion and electronic organ Farfisa.
Coming from the jazz, funk, and traditional Breton scene, Badume’s Band Partners fell in love with the Ethiopian repertoire of the 1960s and 1970s thanks to the work to rediscover these sounds with their exotic magic that ethnomusicologist Francis Falcito, with his work, did. Ethiopian group.
« Au début des années 2000, on tournait avec le chanteur de Center-Bretagne Eric Menneteau qui s’est lancé à corps perdu dans l’apprentissage de la langue, de la musique et de la culture éthiopienne », raconte, Antonin batteur Collection.
After a tour with clarinetist Aklilo Zudi and saxophonist Getachew Mikuriya, Bretonist Mahmoud Ahmed, an iconic character of “Addis Swings,” accompanied the musical movement that ignited the nights of the Ethiopian capital in the 1960s.
Then came the meeting in 2007 with Selamnesh Zéméné, a young woman from the Gondar Heights, the former capital of ancient Ethiopia, who sang every evening at a popular cabaret in Addis Ababa.
“Initially, when we embarked on the Ethiopian music adventure, we frantically took on this group that blends traditional music, African-American music influences, and Cuban music to match it to our instruments and voices,” continues Antonin Fulson.
The common point between Breton and Ethiopian tones is, he says, “the ecstasy, the dance, the oral tradition, and the practice of counter-song.”
“Badume’s is not a fusion of Breton music and Ethiopian music, it is rather distinct music, very jazz, funk,” commented Tanguy Le Cras, a member of the group La Fiselerie, based in Rostrenen (Côtes d’Armor), which coordinates the programming of the Gwernig stage at Les Vieilles. Charrues.
After touring large theaters and traveling back and forth between Brittany and Ethiopia, the group slipped “into the sounds of rock” by performing at smaller venues.
Their third “Roots & Rock” album, Yaho Bele (“Say Yes,” editor’s note), was released at the end of 2021.
The song, in Amharic, offers a great place to improvise with poetic texts from a traditional group brought back by Selamnesh Zéméné, and the words often have a double or triple meaning.
Considered one of the greatest female voices in Ethiopia, the artist still lives in Addis Ababa and returns to Europe regularly for tours.