Swing State: Jazz-Mad Ethiopia Rejoices at a Musical Revival

Time: "Africa might worship hip-hop, but Addis digs jazz — and has done so since it was first introduced in the 1920s." (Photo: Munit at the jazzamba lounge in Addis Ababa)

TIME
By ALEX PERRY

Thursday, Oct. 06, 2011

Walking into the jazzamba lounge in Addis Ababa as it readies for a Friday night is like stumbling into a gig by an Ethiopian Buena Vista Social Club. The venue is hung with low-lit golden chandeliers, candles dot the tables, the barman is flirting with the waitresses, and on stage, running through its discordant but not unappealing set, is a jazz band comprising seven musicians: a drummer, percussionist, guitarist, bassist, keyboard player and, sitting on stools out front, an elderly mandolin player and an equally aged singer.

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