It certainly isn’t the world’s most obvious collaboration- anarchist free-punk survivors The Ex and Ethio-Jazz legend Getatchew Mekuria don’t necessarily share a lot of common ground. And yet, when the Dutch band, impressed by the power displayed on a reissue of the saxophonist’s album “Negus of Ethiopian Sax,” invited Getatchew to play their 25th anniversary show, a lasting relationship was born. Getatchew reciprocated the favor by asking The Ex to back him for what would become the album “Moa Anabessa.” A tour followed, taking the elderly musician to Europe for the first time in his life, while also instigating the groups return to Ethiopia (The Ex were among the first western rock bands to play in the nation). The collaboration continues this summer with another European tour, and (more importantly for readers on the wrong side of the Atlantic) a double album, comprising both new tracks from Getatchew & The Ex, as well as archival recordings ranging from the 60’s to the last decade of work.
The prospect of a new album by this paring is particularly exciting because of how well their prior record managed to integrate the disparate styles of the two groups. Far from the well-meaning disconnect that is a common result of this type of collaboration, “Moa Anabessa” showcased the best aspects of all involved, rushing towards the listener with ferociously dense energy of the Ex’s punk roots while still capturing the rhythmic and tonal feel that set Getatchew’s original recordings apart.
According to the Ex’s website, the new record will be “instrumental, more sensitive and fragile, deeper. Amazing horn riffs and solos, but also danceable, with up-tempo war-chants.” That description is more than enough to make me excited.
For now, check out some videos of the band and Getatchew.
Getachew with The Ex
Vintage Recording from Getatchew’s Ethiopiques Release
Live with The Ex in Ethiopia.
For more information about tour dates or buying the record, see the Ex’s Website HERE.