Elias Negash: Fusing Contemporary Western Melody With Ethiopian Music
A sure place to find Elias Negash, an
accomplished Ethiopian musician, is in
his Oakland Hills state-of-the art
recording studio, where he creates, mixes,
and produces innovative sounds for
himself and other aspiring musicians. He
has equipped his studio with the latest
technologies ranging from diaphragm
microphones to top-of-the-line
simultaneous track recorders and
acoustically well-padded walls and floors.
It is no surprise to find Elias surrounded
by the latest music technologies. He has
had music in his heart and fingertips since
the tender age of six when he started to
stroke piano keys.
by his mother who was also a pianist, Elias formed his first group
in the 1960’s. He continued to hone his skills through the 1970s
and became one of the pioneering figures to bring reggae music
to the Bay Area with the smash hit group Obeah and The Rastafarians.
It wasn’t long before he started to work and perform with international
stars including Dennis Brown, Linda Ronstadt, Steele Pulse, and
Third World. He has also musically contributed to hit shows such
as “Murder She Wrote” and Natalie Cole’s “Big Break”. Elias also
composed the soundtrack for the movie “Glitz”, starring Jimmy
Smits and Markie Post. In addition to the extensive collaborative
work with many musicians, Elias has traveled the globe playing
for thousands of people on cruise ships and large stadiums alike.
His music has inspired listeners across the United States, Europe,
Africa, and Asia.
1997, Elias released his first instrumental CD entitled “Fikir”
(which is Amharic for “Love”). Elias takes classical love songs
and applies jazz and reggae sounds to create a contemporary fusion.
He followed up that extraordinary work with the release of “Harrambe”
(Let’s Pull Together). Harrambe symbolizes the trajectory that
Elias has taken in his musical journey. The title song, depicts
his experience in Kenya, his formal training in jazz improvisation,
and his penchant for combining American jazz with African melodies.
Critics have raved about his ability to retain the melodic integrity
of Ethiopian music while adding contemporary arrangements to create
Elias is a highly sought-after music engineer who provides his
special keyboard skills to support the work of other musicians.
In fact, he just completed a soundtrack performed by a thirty-piece
orchestra for an AIDS documentary, “Zemad’s Journey with Professor
Adugna Worku”. JJ Hollingsworth produced the soundtrack that aired
on December 30th, 2003 on KCSM Channel 60, and which will be broadcast
nationwide in the spring of 2004. Presently, Elias is putting
together his next solo album while still consulting other musicians
at his state-of-the-art recording studio.
For more information, you may contact
Elias at: email@example.com