“Weaving Strands of Sound from Addis to Chicago” is a collaborative musical experience between the Ethiopia-based QWANQWA and Hear in Now (HIN).
At the core of both ensembles are stringed instruments, with each group exploring tradition and experimentalism in their unique way, pushing musical boundaries and expectations within their respective communities. Upon meeting in Addis Ababa, Tomeka Reid and Kaethe Hostetter felt inspired to find a way to combine their worlds of tradition and experimentalism, using their varied musical languages and experiences. While both ensembles rely heavily on improvisation, the sources and means of that improvisation are very different. The goal of this exchange is to share stylistic improvisational techniques between the two groups. Specifically, HIN members who have worked extensively with Butch Morris and Anthony Braxton will share conduction techniques with the members of QWANQWA, and in return, QWANQWA will share the many scales and rhythms used in traditional Ethiopian music.
Hear in Now Expanded:
Tomeka Reid cello, compositions
Mazz Swift violin, compositions
Silvia Bolognesi bass, compositions
yuniya edi kwon violin
Chad Taylor drums
Misale Legesse Muleta kebero
Anteneh “Bubu” Teklemariam Barago bass krar
Selamnesh Zemene Taye vocals
Kaethe Hostetter violin
Endres “Endris” Hassen Ahmed masinko
A livestream will be available free of charge at 8pm on the day of the performance and archived for future viewing. Watch below or on YouTube.
Beaming in from the sizzling Addis Ababa nightlife scene, this group shines an experimentalism based in the virtuosity of rooted traditions. With swirling masinko (one-stringed fiddle), wah-wah violin, bass krar grooves, the heavy riffs of goat skin kebero beats, and powerful melismatic lead African diva vocals, QWANQWA keeps the people rapt in celebratory attention. QWANQWA’s debut US tour of 54 concerts in Fall 2022 brought the poignant euphoric experience to storied jazz clubs, sticker slapped rock clubs, folk festivals, prestigious music institutions, street festivals, universities, and country opera houses, all the while unifying these audiences as they clap along “Music is Universal Language”.
Hear in Now Expanded
A conjunction is an action or an instance of two or more events occurring at the same point in time or space. By way of a commission from the Italian Woma Jazz in 2009, the three musicians who comprise Hear in Now surrendered to a gravitational attraction resulting in a remarkable conjunction of ideas and sound. Violinist Mazz Swift, bassist Silvia Bolognesi and cellist Tomeka Reid hail respectively from New York, Sienna, Italy and Chicago, each of them expanding the vocabulary on their instruments and looking for people with whom they could continue the quest. As individuals, all three are active performers in the international music scene, having performed and/or recorded with William Parker, Roscoe Mitchell, Enrico Rava, George Lewis, Matana Roberts, Nicole Mitchell, Butch Morris, Vernon Reid, Dee Alexander, Burnt Sugar, Anthony Braxton and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. But the ethos of the trio is shaped more by the three musicians’ collective fearlessness and boundary-defying openness. Embracing expanded and invented techniques has resulted in compositions that touch on the exploratory nature of improvised music, while remaining rooted in the melodicism of more “traditional” or popular forms. They have released two albums: the eponymous Hear in Now on Rudi Records in 2012 and the critically acclaimed Not Living in Fear on International Anthem in 2017. For this project, Hear in Now Expanded includes violinist yuniya edi kwon and drummer Chad Taylor.