By James Reaney |

The world music trio known as “Ethiopia’s White Stripes” stops by Aeolian Hall this weekend.

Krar Collective takes its name from the krar, a six-string Ethiopian lyre. The link made by fans and critics to the rock duo derives from the Collective’s ability — like that of Jack and Meg White back in the day — to sound much bigger than their numbers would suggest.

Krar Collective’s Genet Assefa was a pop singer in London, England, before she joined the English-Ethiopian band. (PHOTO: Jacob Crawfurd/Special to Postmedia News)

Krar Collective’s Genet Assefa (PHOTO: Jacob Crawfurd/Special to Postmedia News)

A master of the electrified krar, Temesgen Zeleke, leads the collective. In Zeleke’s hands, the krar sounds much more like a relative of the guitar or violin than the harp-like sounds familiar in traditional Ethiopian music.

Joined by vocalist Genet Assefa and kebero drummer Grum Begashaw, Zeleke is extending the tradition of his mentor, Ethio-jazzman Mulatu Astatke.

“We met (Assefa) in London (England). She was singing modern pop music, but we really loved her voice and she started to sing traditional music with us,” Zeleke told an online Los Angeles publication.

“That’s how we got together. We saw that around the world, non-Ethiopian people like traditional music more than Ethiopian pop music so we are proud to communicate our culture with them.

“Also our people love this kind of music too.”

Based in London, England, Krar Collective plays Aeolian Hall on Saturday as part of Sunfest’s concert series at the historic hall.

In other Sunfest news, the Oct. 8 concert at Aeolian Hall by Colombia’s Cimar­ron is off because the members of the band weren’t able to obtain Canadian visas, Sunfest said Tuesday.

There is no word yet whether it will be rescheduled.

What: Concert by Krar Collective presented by Sunfest as part of its Sunfest World Music & Jazz Series.
When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
Where: Aeolian Hall, 795 Dundas St. (at Rectory)
Details: $25 advance, $30 at door. Visit or or call 519-672-7950.

Source: The London Free Press
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