Mikael Seifu

RVNG Intl. / ET

  • Friday 17 16:00 - 17:00

    Sónar by Day - SonarHall

The new sound of Ethiopia

There are echoes of Mulatu Astatke and the golden age of Ethio-jazz in Mikael Seifu’s music, blended harmoniously with elongated synthetic developments, cutting edge beats and cosmic funk; an unlikely cross somewhere between Hailu Mergia, Burial and Flying Lotus. These are the fascinating sonic pathways, which his new album "Zelalem" travels, released this year on the prestigious American label RVNG Intl, following his much-celebrated EP "Yarada Lij" in 2014. On "Zelalem", meaning "eternity" in his mother tongue, Seifu takes us through the modern sounds of Addis Ababa and reveals a new genre, "Ethiopiyawi Electronic", which can be described as the contrast between Ethiopian folklore’s ancient instruments (such as the krar or Masenko) and modern digital production processes.

Seifu grew up in the large Ethiopian metropolis listening to rap and electronic music on the Internet, much like any other young man of his generation. His interest and talent for music led him to travel to the United States and study at New Jersey’s Ramapo College. After a couple of years in America and an enlightening encounter with trumpeter Ben Neill (collaborator and pupil of La Monte Young), Seifu decided to return home and explore in depth the history of Ethiopian music, in order to discover and develop his own sound. His journey has been meticulous and honest, giving as a result some new fresh music that he will share performing live at Sónar by Day, in the unique setting of SonarHall.