Krar Collective


They have been dubbed the White Stripes of Ethiopia for their lean and stripped-down sound which features a krar, a traditional six-string lyre that has been electrified to sound like an ancient rock guitar. The krar is played by Temesegen Zeleke, who was mentored by the father of Ethiopian Jazz, the legendary vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke. Zeleke shares vocal duties with Genet Asefa and Grum Begashaw rounds out the trio on the double-headed kebero drum. This is traditional music stripped to its core and played with a modern edge. The sound is unmistakably Ethiopian, building on the hypnotic grooves Astatke was known for but introducing more of a rock’n'roll strum rather than experimenting with jazz and Latin American rhythms often associated with Ethio-jazz. And with the magnetic presence of Asefa, dancing, ululating and harmonizing with Zeleke, Krar Collective shows have become renowned as joyous affairs that leave audiences unable tokeep their feet still.

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