Ethiopian Music Artists

Dereb The Ambassador – Justice To Ethiopian & Australian Music

At their show at the Basement in Sydney on Friday night, Dereb the Ambassador did something I’ve never before heard a band in Australia do. They acknowledged the traditional indigenous owners of the land upon whose land they played – and paid their respect to elders past and present of the Gadigal people.  It was an impressive start to a special show filled with ‘Ethio-soul’ tunes oozing with funk and played to absolute perfection.

Dereb the Ambassador live @ The Basement

Dereb the Ambassador live @ the Basement

Dereb the Ambassador (aka Dereb Desalegn) and his musical cohorts have taken the sounds of traditional Ethiopian folk music, plus 60‘s and 70‘s soul and jazz, and infused them with fresh, contemporary musical flavours of the very funky and at times the skanking kind. So what you get from this group live is always-grooving music you can’t help but move to.

dereb the Ambassador live @ The Basement

What you also get is 8 artists on stage whose level of musicianship and skill is refreshingly, delightfully faultless. Usually when I hear music the sound of maybe one or two instruments (sometimes voice) played in an especially awesome way will stand out from the rest to grab my focus. At the Dereb the Ambassador gig my ears and eyes were pulled from one musician to the next by the especially awesome playing of all of them.

Dereb the Ambassador live @ The BasementDereb the Ambassador live @ The Basement

Dereb the Ambassador at the Basement was: Eden Ottignon on bass, Matt Ottignon on tenor sax, Peter Farrar on C Melody saxophone, Daniel Pliner on keys, Jonathon Pease on guitar, Sandro Bueno on percussion and Carlos Adura on drums.  Each of them are incredibly experienced and accomplished Sydney-based musicians in their own right. Playing together as a group they were as tight as tight can be.

Last but definitely not least was the group’s main song-writer Dereb Desalegn  – a talented and emotive vocalist;  dynamic and engaging frontman; and yes, a musical ambassador doing great justice to both the music of his native Ethiopia and contemporary Australia.

Dereb the Ambassador live @ The Basement

Check out 2 videos here of Dereb the Ambassador live at the Basement on Friday night…

It makes total sense to me that Will Holland (aka Quantic), with his always great tastes in music, would team up with Dereb the Ambassador to produce and include the track ‘Arada’ on his new album Magnetica (listen to ‘Arada’ here).  Even more sense after hearing that Dereb the Ambassador’s 2011 self-titled album was recorded using only classic, pre-70’s analogue equipment.

Dereb the Ambassador (2011)

Dereb the Ambassador (2011)

With some extra effort by members of Dereb the Ambassador in Sydney on the weekend, I managed to buy myself one of the last remaining copies of that album. Check out 2 sample tracks here, definitely find the live Dereb the Ambassador experience when you can and keep an ear out for the second album coming soon.

Dereb the Ambassador (2011)

Dereb the Ambassador (2011)

 Gedawo (Traditional) – Dereb the Ambassador


Aynei (Dereb Desalegn) – Dereb the Ambassador
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