Tomas Doncker’s New CD Blends Ethiopian with R&B and Urban Sounds

Tomas Doncker (center) with Selam Woldemariam (left) performing during Doncker's tour launch party on December 1, 2011 in New York. (Photo by Kidane Mariam for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
Art Talk | Review

Updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – Tomas Doncker’s new album entitled Power of the Trinity blends Jazz, R&B, Ethiopian beats, reggae and urban sounds, reflecting the diverse borough where he grew up in Brooklyn, New York. The CD, produced in collaboration with some of the best known Ethiopian musicians, is also a traveling musical featuring dance performers from the United States and Africa.

“The CD is what I like to call a global soul meditation and how I feel that we are all connected,” Doncker said in an interview. “I grew up in Brooklyn NY, in Crown Heights and I attended St. Ann’s school from 1st grade until the 12th grade.” He added: “Crown Heights at that time was a very dangerous neighborhood. Lots of gangs and violence, but we still managed to maintain a sense of community, at least among the families on my block.”

Receiving a scholarship to attend St. Ann’s made it possible for Doncker to meet people from diverse backgrounds and learn about other cultures. “It changed my life and helped to mold me into the artist that I am today,” he said. “My mother was my first role model, and she was a musician as well.”

Doncker said his latest album is inspired by a play named for Emperor Haile Selassie. “I was asked to score a play called Power of the Trinity by NYC Playwright Roland Wolf and in my research I realized that collaborations with this particular group of artists would really capture and enhance the feeling that I was looking for,” Doncker said. “The process of producing this CD and working so closely with these artists was one of the most rewarding artistic experiences of my life.”

Among others, the CD features guitarist Selam Woldermariam, whom Doncker dubs “The Jimi Hendrix of Ethiopia.”

“I call him the Jimi Hendrix of Ethiopia because Americans understand what I am talking about that he’s got some unique guitar talent,” Doncker said.

The following interview was taped follwing his CD release and tour launch party last December.

Watch:

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