Girum Mezmur Hawaz

  • function:
    founder / musical director
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participation in

  • WOMEX 2013

Addis Acoustic Project / Girum Mezmur

Comprised of some of Addis Ababa’s finest acoustic musicians, the “Addis Acoustic Project” brings forth Ethiopia’s popular tunes from the 1950s and 1960s in a new light. Directed and arranged by guitarist Girum Mezmur, the “Addis Acoustic Project” unfolds Ethiopian music from the past in a contemporary way. The group’s musical style has influences of traditional East-African, Jazz, and Latin in it.

The band, composed of veteran musicians such as Ayele Mamo (Mandolin), as well as contemporary musicians such as Girum Mezmur (Guitar/Accordion/Arrangement), Henock Temesgen (Double Bass), Nathaniel Tesemma (Drums/Percussions), Aklilu Wolde Yohannes (Clarinet/Flute), and Misale Legesse (Kebero/Percussions), produces unique sounds dear to most Ethiopians and that undoubtedly appeal to a greater world music audience. Some have even dubbed the group as being similar to the “Buena Vista Social Club”.

Addis Acoustic Projects’ founder/ leader, guitarist Girum Mezmur, has performed with the who’s who of Ethiopian music including Aster Awoke, Teddy Afro, Ali Birra, and Mahmoud Ahmed. His musical relationship with Mahmoud Ahmed has provided him the opportunity to tour several countries worldwide including Africa, Europe, and Canada, playing at major international music festivals such as the WOMAD, the Montreal Jazz Festival, Roskilde Festival, etc. Girum has also had the honor of participating in U.K’s 2007 BBC Radio World Music Award, appearing as Mahmoud Ahmed’s guitarist. It was here where Mahmoud Ahmed won the nomination for “Best Artist” under the category “Africa”. Girum has also performed with renown international artists such as Angelique Kidjo, Ray Lema, Brice Wassi, and Ali Keita. Girum Mezmur is also a cofounder of Jazzamba Music School and live music venue in Addis Ababa, as well as the yearly Acacia Jazz & World Music Festival.
Since its premiere at the 7th Ethiopian Music Festival (May 2008), the Addis Acoustic Project has been enjoying great success. The group currently performs on a weekly basis at one of Addis Ababa’s hip jazz spots..."Jazzamba". The band has also performed internationally at renowned festivals such as WOMEX 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Selam Festival in Stockholm, Sweden as well as TFF Rudolstadt Festival in Rudolstadt, Germany.

The band released its debut album "Tewesta"- Remembrance" on the world music label, Harmonia Mundi/World Village in August 2011.

Press Quotes

“Addis Acoustic Project’s soft, jazzy versions of Ethiopian vintage classics drift upwards… it’s a gentle groove with carefully rounded edges played on mandolin, accordion, clarinet, double-bass and drums.”

“Praised for its skilled and enthusiastic performances, the AAP is making a name as one of the premier performing groups of the city, playing great instrumental hits of the late 50’s and 60’s.”

“…it is this quality to embrace and entertain all kinds of people that distinguishes this group from all others.”

“…This music is a seamless re-imagining of a nation’s musical history, teasing out different vectors of sound possibility through the updated sound, allowing other musical idioms to seep through.”

Girum Mezmur Hawaz

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