Power of the Trinity (True Groove, 2011)
Tomás Doncker, a well-known vocalist in the New York music scene, has a new album titled Power of the Trinity. The album was inspired by the life and legend of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I (whose name in the ancient Ge’ez language literally means “power of the trinity”). Haile Selassie is a mythical figure for some members of the African diaspora, including Rastafarians.
Power of the Trinity was originally envisioned as a theatrical work by the late playwright Roland Wolf. The script was bequeathed to his two sons, who realized that the play needed a musical score. They found Doncker, a musician with similar beliefs, who had roots in New York jazz-funk and soul as well as African roots music.
On Power of the Trinity, Doncker provides an interesting mix of African-American soul and Ethiopian-flavored pieces. The Ethiopian connection is provided by Ethiopian singer Ejigayehu “Gigi” Shibabaw, who is based in New York City. The best cuts on the album are the ones with more of a world music flavor, featuring Gigi, Ethiopian guitarist Selam Woldemariam, vocalist Tsegaye Selassie and horn arrangements.
Other guests on Power of the Trinity include the prolific bassist and producer Bill Laswell, Senegalese percussionist Aiyb Dieng, saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum, Brooklyn rocker Doctor Israel, poet Yusef Komunyakaa, and various other jazz, funk and rock musicians.
Power of the Trinity is an upbeat intercontinental musical collaboration, bringing together the sounds of Ethiopia and the African diaspora.