New Voices in an Old Flower
Westerners generally view Ethiopia as the mythical land of Rastafarians. However, the contemporary music scene is much richer than that, as this sultry, nocturnal exploration of the capital Addis Abeba demonstrates. From reggae to hip-hop and from free jazz to electronic sampling: diversity rules.
Ethiopian music that has garnered international recognition dates back to the 1950s to 1980s. Filmmaker/music producer Quino Piñero became an enthusiast and decided to move to Ethiopia to study the scene up close. He discovered a (too) little-known, yet thriving contemporary music culture in the capital Addis Ababa.
In this documentary, he gives musicians a platform, but primarily lets them play. Alongside interviews there is tons of footage of recording sessions and atmospheric live shows in today’s Ethiopian jazz, pop and reggae that echo tradition, as well as in the more American-inspired hip-hop and refreshing electronic sounds. The film also explores the city’s slums, exciting nightlife and interesting inhabitants.