Some people take holidays, I do EthioCaliDays. In any trade we get fortunate enough to be somewhat close to the people around us, so much that we get to be part of their daily lives. I don’t check out every Ethio Cali show and I don’t photograph their kids birthday parties (…yet) however I have known them through music in the air of Los Angeles and have been documenting their growth since their very beginning in 2011.
Ethio Cali is an Ethio-Jazz ensemble led by trumpeter/arranger Todd Simon. In every performance, the band’s engagement with the music is warmly perceived by their growing audience. Their sounds are inspired by the golden age of Ethiopian music of the 1960’s and 70’s making you want to dance in dim corners with your eyes closed. For some reason, this April has showered me with opportunities to be around their music in different scenarios and what a nice Spring this has become.
Night 1: Passed 10 PM I arrived to the rehearsal studio. Tall ceilings, chilli night, tshirts and sweaters AND people knowing what they are doing. This night Ethio Cali was getting ready for the show on the weekend featuring 14? new songs as well as launching their first cassette. We took a nice group shot with them looking up and I saw how swiftly directions were given, beats blended by music brains connected as soon as somebody counted. Many fun moments with cell phones guiding the night. In maybe 25 years it’ll be a different gadget, but yeah… Los Angeles music history. I left at some point but they still had 6 hours ahead.
More photos of Night 1 right HERE.
Night 2: Blue Whale. This night was dedicated to celebrate the release of Ethi Cali’s cassette which I highly recommend purchasing. It was waiting for us at the door and come on, if you get a drink, you can get a cassette, sweet investment right there. You can also get a digital copy, that’s just fine, but there’s something nostalgic about holding a tape. I heard someone around sharing to be happy about taking out the old walk-man so there went a happy customer. Ethio Cali was on fire all night and yes, we found those dim corners to sway with the music. Blue Whale is one of my favorite jazz spots thanks to the attention they give to sound, light and ambiance. Audience I trust will agree with me, it was a great night. Props to DJs Rani D and Son Zoo of Radio Afrique for sharing their music throughout the night.
More photos of Night 2 right HERE.
Night 3: You’d think I’m in love by now. Rani D and DJ Son Z produce a sublime monthly gathering celebrating the diversity and richness of music found in the various regions of Africa. At this time, Radio Afrique is starting their episodes every 2nd Tuesday of the month with solid followers drawn by the music. This was my third night around Ethio Cali who where the guests of the night and occupied the little stage of Hyperion Tavern with as many members possible with a free spirited jam session that took us places!!! Ethiopian Jazz from Saturn. This place has very dim light and at this point you may know the sweetest side of Ethio Cali’s faces therefore take this images as a shimmering dribble of what went on… Art (wink!).
My name is Farah Sosa and FARAHSTOP is my music photography archive… ALL rights reserved.