QWANQWA from Ethiopia Kicks off 2024 Spring Tour of North America: A Celebration of Unity Through Music

The musical ensemble includes Bubu Teklemariam (krar), Endris Hassen (masinko), Selamnesh Zemene (vocalist), Misale Legesse (kebero) and Kaethe Hostetter (violin). Courtesy photo.

Tadias Magazine

Updated: April 23rd, 2024

New York (TADIAS) — This month, QWANQWA, the traditional musical ensemble from Ethiopia, launched their highly anticipated 2024 Spring Tour across North America. With an extensive lineup of 39 concerts spanning numerous states from New York to California, this tour promises to be a vibrant celebration of cultural diversity, musical prowess, and the unifying power of music.

The ensemble includes Endris Hassen (masinko), Kaethe Hostetter (violin), Bubu Teklemariam (bass krar), Selamnesh Zemene (vocalist), and Misale Legesse (kebero).

Founded by California native Kaethe Hostetter, QWANQWA, originating from the vibrant nightlife scene of Addis Ababa, represents a fusion of diverse musical influences and talents. The essence of QWANQWA lies in its diverse ensemble, featuring traditional Ethiopian instruments such as the masinko and krar, alongside sounds of violin and electronic beats.

Hostetter, who lived in Ethiopia for more than a decade, says each member brings their unique background and expertise, enriching the ensemble’s sound and creating a dynamic musical experience.

“My journey with Ethiopian music began in the early 2000s, around 2002, when I met Danny Mekonnen [Ethiopian-American saxophonist and leader of Debo band],” Hostetter recalled in an interview with Tadias Magazine. “We shared a similar musical taste and had friends in common. My exploration of Ethiopian music with him evolved from an interest into a practice group, then a performing group, which led to a band invitation to Ethiopia, where I discovered traditional instruments. This journey ultimately led to the formation of QWANQWA. I was so captivated by everything in Ethiopia that I found myself there for 11 years.”

Selamnesh Zemene and Kaethe Hostetter. (Courtesy photo)

Reflecting on the significance of this tour, Hostetter emphasizes the universal language of music in fostering connections across cultures. “We want this to be a place where differences are set aside, and we come together in the name of music as a universal language,” she said. “That’s why we chose the name QWANQWA, symbolizing unity and peace.”

New Album

In addition to their live performances, QWANQWA is releasing a new live album during the tour, capturing the energy and spirit of their electrifying concerts. This vinyl release offers fans a chance to experience the magic of QWANQWA’s music in the comfort of their homes, further extending the reach of their message of unity and harmony.

Courtesy photo

QWANQWA invites music lovers everywhere to follow them on social media for behind-the-scenes glimpses and updates on their journey. Through Instagram and Facebook, fans can join in the excitement and be part of this extraordinary musical experience.


If You Go:

For more information and tour dates, visit QWANQWA’s official website and follow them on social media.


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