Afework Nigussie

Part of Kologo Power

Afework Nigussie is a native of the Gonder region of Ethiopia. He moved  at a young age to the capital city of Addis Abeba and started playing music. He quickly integreted into Addis’ rich and varied cultural and musical lifestyle, playing modern international as well as traditional Ethiopian styles.

Afework Nigussie is a musician and singer from Gondar in northern Ethiopia. He has a background in Azmari, the music of the wandering minstrels. The Azmari are the voices of freedom of expression in Ethiopia, improvising constantly, commenting on politics, religion and everyday life. Their style is very specific, both provocative and humorous. Nigusse has also trained at the National Theatre in Addis Ababa and, more recently, collaborated with The Ex and Zea.

Afework had to escape from Ethiopia at the end of the 20th century, he lives in Rotterdam now. He sings and plays the masinko (traditional Ethiopian lute).

For one there was a mesmerising set by local punk hero, Zea (aka Arnold de Boer, aka Arnold de Boer from The Ex) and Ethiopian masinqo player Afework Nigussie; which had the audience entranced in the Blessum tent on the Saturday afternoon. Nigussie’s otherworldly improvisations, driven by his command of the masinqo were spellbinding; at times stopping time and space in their tracks. When joined by de Boer, the two seemed to delight in throwing odd time changes or notes into the mix, looking to incorporate them into a wider sonic whole. Their raga take on Leadbelly’s Bourgeois Blues was special too, wandering off track and back repeatedly in a sort of Happy Sad-way. >> Louder Than War / RJ Foster