Ethiopian jazz musician Kibrom Birhane is a man that wears many hats. His impressive credits include being an accomplished pianist, engineer, producer, singer/songwriter and a composer to name a few.
Kibrom Birhane talks exclusively to Akatasia.com about his musical style, childhood influences and the recent release of his debut album “Kibrom’s Tizita“.
View the interview below:
Your latest album ‘Kibrom’s Tizita‘ is a fusion of Ethiopian music and contemporary American Jazz. In general how would you describe you style of music?
Well it’s a tough question to answer, but I would say it is Ethio-Jazz primarily because of the influences from my childhood. I grew up attending traditional Ethiopian Orthodox church listening and singing to devotional songs as well as Ethiopian folk music, thats why I wrote most of my songs Ethiopian scales. After high school, I was lucky enough to attend music school with an emphasis in Jazz and Gospel music. Throughout my life, I used to listen to various music from around the world, which I believe has led to my unique musical style.
Can you explain the inspiration for the album (Kibrom’s Tizita)?
My album is inspired by different moments and feelings in my life. Each song represents just that. All of the tracks in the album have deep meaning and take me back to those moments when I listen to them.
Would you say that living in Los Angeles has any influence on your style of music? Did your style of music change when you got to the US?
Not really, at least when it comes to my first album. My next album will definitely be influenced by it.
Who are your influences (musically)?
There are a lot of people that have influenced me musically. To name a few, the Ethio-Jazz legend Mulatu Astatqe, Abegazu Shiota, Henok Temesgen, Girum Mezmur, Elias Melka, Yonas Gorfe, Philip Wilkinson and Yamlu Molla.
You worked on the soundtrack for Nathan Araya’s film, ‘Sincerely Ethiopia’. How did you get involved with that?
I was approached by Hermon Tekle, the editor and Videographer of the documentary, whom I have worked with in the past and the director Nathan Araya.
They told me about the project and asked me to score the entire documentary to give the music an “Ethiopian Touch”, which I did, it was successful, by the way we were nominated for African Movie Academy award for best documentary.
What’s coming next for you? Any plans for collaborations, new albums, tours?
I have several projects that I’m working on at the moment including my second album. This album is about halfway completed and I have collaborated with various artists from all over the world, which is one of the benefits of living in Los Angeles. I’m also working on the first album for one of my bands, The Mystery Traveller. I have a tour with my primary band, Empire Assembly, within the coming few month. Currently, I am playing with Empire Assembly, The Mystery Traveller and with my other band, The Mystic Nomads, at different venus within LA.
How can readers learn more about you?
I’m on all the popular social medias, which they can find the links on my website kibromusika.com My music is on all online music stores.