Ejigayehu “Gigi” Shibawbaw, one of Ethiopia’s best-known singers, is releasing her latest album Mesgana Ethiopia on October 19th through MOD Technologies, the label founded by Grammy-winner Bill Laswell (who has collaborated with countless legends from Mick Jagger to Laurie Anderson to Tony Williams). This release features Gigi singing her original songs mixed with some Ethiopian traditional tunes – all sung in Amaharic – bridging African styles, Reggae, Dub, Avant-Funk,/Jazz, World Beat, Trance, and Ambient music.
Already an international star, Gigi has recorded and toured across the globe with iconic, master musicians including Tabla Beat Science featuring Zakir Hussain and Sultan Khan, Pharoah Sanders, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Hamid Drake, Sly & Robbie, Abegasu Shiota, Buckethead, Karsh Kale, DJ Disk and Laswell himself. Her music has also been featured in films, including 2003’s Beyond Borders, which starred Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen.
Gigi has a powerful voice that can also convey beautiful fragility. This versatility allows her to be the source and structural framework for her backing band’s African Futurism/One World Music approach.
Bill Laswell: Material founder, legendary bassist, producer, reconstructionist, inventor of Herbie Hancock’s mega-hit “Rockit”, creator of the first and only landmark full album remix-constructions on the music of Bob Marley, Miles Davis & Carlos Santana, cofounder of the Axiom Label w/Chris Blackwell, veteran of over 700 recordings to date.
Abegasu Shiota: Keyboardist, acclaimed producer/arranger of Ethiopian pop culture, has worked with most all of the important artists there.
Hamid Drake: Master drummer.
Aiyb Dieng: Senegalese percussionist.
Dominic Kanza: Post Modern African guitarist, master of many advanced styles.
The album includes two guest musicians: Steven Bernstein on trumpet / slide trumpet; and Peter Apfelbaum on tenor saxophone, flute, percussion. Both are composers, arrangers and world class band leaders in their own right.
Buy the album: