Anbessa Orchestra is a seven-piece band based in Brooklyn, NY that draws its inspiration from the diverse musical culture of Ethiopia, combining these unique sounds with the more western sounds of Funk, Jazz, R&B and Rock.

By Daniel Shoemaker (New Haven Independent)  |

Shortly after 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nadav Peled and the rest of Anbessa Orchestra took to the stage at the State House and, with little ado, leapt headlong into a set and a half of blazing Ethiopian-inspired tunes. Over the course of a dozen-odd selections ranging from reverent covers to deftly arranged originals, the Brooklyn-based group managed to transform a crowd of 30 or so swaying bodies into an undulating mass more than double that size over the course of their performance.

The sounds of the ”Golden Age” of Ethiopian music have been slowly worming their way through discerning ears since the music’s heyday in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when a group of adventurous musicians in Addis Ababa began cross-pollinating local scales and rhythms with Western instrumentation, combining tribal traditions with the bounce and punch of James Brown, Miles Davis and anything else that swirled into their sonic stew. With an increased profile following inclusion on the soundtrack of the 2005 Jim Jarmusch indie comedy Broken Flowers (the culmination of years of sad-sacky Bill Murray films), musicians like Mulatu Astatke, vocalists like Mahmoud Ahmed, and many of their contemporaries have appreciated a bolstered profile playing to increasingly enthusiastic Western audiences.

There were no big-name octogenarians looming over the crowd and no cross-armed, chin-strokers looking on Saturday night, however, when Brooklyn Ethio-loyalists Anbessa Orchestra brought their irresistibly kinetic aural assemblies to the stage at State House, performing for a swaying, awestruck crowd of locals to make a free-flowing party.

Continue reading this story at New Haven Independent
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