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Afropop Album Premiere: Zvuloon Dub System’s Anbessa Dub


Zvuloon Dub System, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, is far more than a typical dub reggae band: These musicians draw musical and cultural inspiration not only from the mythical ancestral homeland, “Ethiopia,” of Jamaican Rastafarianism, but from the actual geographic place, the country of Ethiopia. The rhythms and sonic textures of the music on their debut album Anbessa Dub are mostly informed by vintage Jamaican dub, but the compositions tastefully blend horn lines and vocals imbued with Ethiopian tonalities and phrasing. They also manage to combine the loping rhythmic swing of Ethio-soul with a steppers rhythm. We are pleased to premiere the album for streaming!

Zvuloon Dub System was founded by two Israeli brothers, Ilan and Asaf Smilan (guitar and drums respectively), but it found its voice in the lead singer, Gili Yalo. Born in Ethiopia to an Ethiopian-Jewish family, Yalo arrived in Israel in 1984 (part of a larger migration of Ethiopian Jews) after an arduous journey with his family, walking across the desert into Sudan before they were delivered to the promised land of their ancestors. However, growing up Ethiopian in Israel was not an easy experience, but according to Yalo, the band helped him find an avenue to explore this identity.

Zvuloon Dub System records in their own studio in Tel Aviv, with analog gear, and as a result their album Anbessa Dub manages to capture that warm, familiar sound that defines so much of vintage Jamaican records. Look out for guest vocalists Mahmoud Ahmed, Zemene Melesse and Yaakov Lilay as well.

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