cd cover

cd cover

New Nile Orchestra
New Flower
Addison Ababa Records

Who would think that any band playing Ethiopian pop would be hiding somewhere in the hills of Vermont, let alone one that is as credible and downright groove-filled as New Nile Orchestra? The band of locals backing an immigrant singer/musician is becoming common, from Sweden's Simbi to a dozen bar bands around the globe, and most fall horribly flat on their faces trying too hard to be something they are not. New Nile suffered that fate to some extent on their previously self-issued album, but here the pitfalls have all been filled in by solid, R&B groove and energy. A hard hitting rhythm section, cheesy synths (the defining sound of Addis-pop) and a solid lead singer in Ethiopian Kifla Kidane give this recording a lot of meat. There are also some nice touches like the Afro-Celt melding of Pete Sutherland's fiddle on "Hubbeni" and some sax playing here and there (maybe a full horn section next time, gentlemen?). They make edgy dance music and sweet soul-dripping pop on New Flower, and it works quite well. - CF

Copyright 1998 New Nile Orchestra

see also: Africa

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