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Fri 10/21, 2022, 7:30pm
Town Hall Seattle, Earshot Jazz, and SAMA present
QWANQWA: Traditional Ethiopian Music Meets Jazz
With an Opening Performance by Kaethe & Marié

Kaethe Hostetter and Marie AbeThe show opens with a performance by Kaethe & Marié. Both members of Debo Band, a Boston-based Ethiopian groove collective, violinist Kaethe Hostetter and accordion player Marié Abe perform eclectic tunes from Ethiopia to Japan, simmered in musical spices from the world over.

For the headline performance, QWANQWA takes the stage for an evening of music that swirls, jangles, and delights. Made up of renowned instrumentalists from Addis Ababa, the bustling capital of Ethiopia, QWANQWA (meaning “language” in Amharic) will immerse us in sounds with North African roots, intermingled with modern-day jazz.

QWANQWA is a five-piece ensemble, all veterans of decidedly non-traditional performance in the West with the likes of Paal Nilssen-Love, Fred Frith, and Butch Morris. The group is made up of: Misale Legesse on kebero goat-skin drum; Mesele Asmamaw on krar, a bowl-shaped lyre; Anteneh Teklemariam on bass krar; and Endris Hassan on masinko bowed lute — plus longtime American resident of Addis Ababa, Kaethe Hostetter, on five-string violin.

Since their 2012 debut, QWANQWA has merged the richness and diversity of rooted tradition with a modern, experimental sensibility, inspired improvisation, and a mission to transcend genres and blur boundaries.


Mesele Asmamaw – krar
Endris Hassan – masinko bowed lute
Kaethe Hostetter – five-string violin
Misale Legesse – kebero goat-skin drum
Anteneh Teklemariam – bass krar

This performance is part of their 23-state U.S. tour and North American debut, sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation.

Presented by Town Hall Seattle, in association with Seattle Sacred Music & Arts, and Earshot Jazz.

Watch: Qwanqwa ቋንቋ – Kemekem (official music video)

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