Qwanqwa w/ Fiddle Madness

04nov7:00 pm10:00 pmQwanqwa w/ Fiddle Madness

Event Details

QWANQWA IS A SUPERGROUP OF MUSICIANS FROM THE BADDEST ENSEMBLES OF ADDIS ABABA. Brought together by a shared passion for the power of Ethiopian music, this group shines an experimentalism based in the virtuosity of rooted traditions. With swirling masinko (one-stringed fiddle), wah-wah-violin, bass krar boom, and the unstoppable rhythm of heavy kebero (goat-skin drum) beats, powerful traditional lead African diva vocals, QWANQWA keeps the people wrapped in celebratory attention. After making a splash at world renowned festivals Roskilde and WOMEX, and after 3 European tours under their belt,  this world traveling ensemble is hitting the road for a MacArthur Foundation backed Debut US tour in 2022

QWANQWA draws inspiration from East Africa regions of Ethiopia and beyond. Delving deep into regional beats and moods, the repertoire ranges from a trance-like song of the Eritrean tribe of Blen to a Somalian rock number to Mahmoud Ahmed sing-a-longs. The music is characterized by tight arrangements and extended experimental moments. The live show ranges from intimate to wild, from whispery conversations to full blown rock show, and it is hard to believe these psychedelic sounds are coming from traditional harp and violin. It is driving, powerful, and different than anything else coming out of Ethiopia at this current Golden Age of Ethiopian music.

The ensemble was founded in 2012 by American violinist Kaethe Hostetter, who first worked in Ethiopian music as a founding member of critically acclaimed Debo Band. Since relocating to Addis in 2009, she has participated in numerous exploratory and professional projects, as she honed her sound and immersed herself further into the culture of her surroundings. In this sense, QWANQWA, the Amharic word for “language,” is a project creating dialogues between cultures.

Current members of QWANQWA are Endris Hassen (mesenko), Kaethe (violin), Bubu Teklemariam (bass krar), Selamnesh Zemene (vocalist), and Misale Legesse (kebero). They have appeared internationally with Getachew Mekuria, The EX, Thurston Moore, Fred Frith, Butch Morris, Debo Band, Nile Project, Fendika, Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu Astatke, Addis Acoustic, Ethiocolor, Atse Teodros, Mohammed “Jimmy” Mohammed, and Imperial Tiger Orchestra, and have played stages from Lincoln Center to Bonnaroo, Jazzfest (New Orleans), Moers Festival, Roskilde, WOMEX, WOMAD and more.

FIDDLE MADNESS is a collection of some of the most accomplished and exciting contra / folk dance musicians in the Monadnock region. Skip Gorman’s natural affinity for Celtic music has been reinforced by his many trips to Ireland, Scotland and Shetland. He masterfully captures the intricacies of each genre with his fiddling. Skip’s breadth as a musician includes also being a master mandolin player (in the tradition of Bill Monroe) and a cowboy singer. Jane Orzechowski has been a mainstay at contra dances for several decades. She is the 2019 recipient of the Governor’s Arts Awards for Folk Heritage. Her original interest was in Swedish fiddling, but her repertoire quickly grew to include all the influences, including Celtic, that form the basis for New England contra dance music. Sarah Bauhan stared playing flute and penny whistle as a teenager, and while her music encompasses the broader New England styles, she has a special affinity for Scotland, where she visits as often as possible. Nat Backes learned to accompany fiddle tunes by playing guitar at the Nelson contra dance. They played in the dance bands Trip to Nelson, and the Harlow's All Stars, and then developed their fiddle style as a street performer in Denver, Colorado. Nat now lives in Nelson, New Hampshire, and plays a variety of instruments.  Gordon Peery  has played piano for contra dances for over four decades. He moves seamlessly from high-energy accompaniment for driving reels (one fan called his style “barrelhouse Irish”) to subtle accompaniment for delicate airs.

This show is an exciting cultural exchange funded in part by a grant from Mascoma Bank. Doors are at 7pm, and the music will begin at 8pm. Seating is first come first served.



November 4, 2022 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm(GMT-04:00)


Brewbakers Cafe

48 Emerald Street

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