Girum Gizaw who is one of the well-known young Ethiopian jazz guitarist and composer to release his long awaited album this June titled Kelem or Colors. Growing up in the church Girum got exposed to music at early age.
Having more deep and rich blend of sounds Girum’s playing easily connect whether you are a professional musician or a lay music lover you will clearly notice this distinct sound that separating him from what you are normally used to hearing.
Girum explains this by reveling that his music is not only derived from different techniques and forms of playing taken from what he’s observed from other African sounds but also by extracting the different African dialects and the accentuations of different individual sub divisions of tribes. His musical interpretation of languages of this multi-cultural continent makes his music one of a kind and creates a mystical and unforgettable journey in to the unfamiliar world of creativity and beauty that defines Africa in her wholeness.
It is clear for anyone who listens to the sounds of this young, deeply talented musician that his biggest form of reflection comes from the southern part of Ethiopia. To this he accredits his biggest inspiration “the godfather of Ethio-Jazz” Mulatu Astatke.. And the icing on the cake was when Girum had the chance to perform on the same stage with this living legend. He says it’s a moment like no other and one he’ll never forget.133
While it is safe to say that Girum has come a long way with his music in his short years it was no smooth sailing. To him his biggest achievement is his band, Meleket Band. This band has been around for the past 7 years and it is one of the very few all jazz bands in the country. Their style focuses on the different Ethiopian cultural sounds with a fusion of jazz creating an amazing blend of experimental Ethiopian jazz. This is no new thing for Ethiopia but for sure anyone who has ever heard this band perform will attest to their creative interpretation. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that they’ve defiantly redefined the narrow understanding of Ethio-Jazz that people had. What makes this band special for Girum is that this band came at a crucial time for him. After graduating from Music school, Girum had joined a few pop bands just to make a little extra cash. After that he joined a Jazz band called Blue note yet this band also stopped performing after working together for 2years . It was hard for Girum to get back up and start yet another band. But it was during this time he got together with two of his close friends Abiy W/mariyam and Mebratu Shewa and created the now amazing band Meleket. And after 7 years of performing together they are still high and running to this day. This is a true, inspirational achievement for not only the members of the band but to all other aspiring musicians.
Girum Gizaw’s life is defiantly like an exhilarating and freeing roller coaster ride. That has its own share of challenges and victories. And Girum has tried very hard to depict all these moments in his upcoming Album.