No Hats No Hoods bring grime to Ethiopia

Grime | Wednesday 13th March 2019 | Alex

London to Addis, a new instrumental compilation from No Hats No Hoods, combines traditional Ethiopian instruments and a veritably all-star line-up of grime producers.

Covering the full spectrum of the sound - from the percussive bangers of Dexplicit, Ignorants, J Beatz and TC4, melodies of JT The Goon, Wize and Shudan, to the more abstract sounds of Proc Fiskal and Captain Over, the project aims to bring together the two very different worlds of grime and traditional Ethiopian music.

The rhythms of Ethiopian music inspired the producers to experiment outside of the usual grime templates. On tracks such as Ignorants' 'Uncolonised', for example, the beatmaker uses a 3/4 time signature, paying homage to traditional Ethiopian musical styles. Working with flutes and pentatonic scales they've created beats that re-capture the essence of the sino strand of early east London grime, or classic beats like XTC's 'Functions on the Low', but with a new slant.

Recorded over a week in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, the instruments used are just a small sample of the huge range of the East African nation's rich musical heritage. While the music of West Africa, in particular Ghana and Nigeria, is well known in the UK, Ethiopia's music shares similarities with Arabic styles thanks to its proximity to the Middle East.

The four instruments used were the Masinko, Krar, Washint and drums, as well as traditional vocals. The Masinko is a single-stringed fiddle made from horses tail and hide that is used throughout Ethiopia by various ethnic groups, including the Amhara, the Tigreans and Oromo. The Krar is a traditional five-stringed lyre, while the Washint is a wooden flute usually made of bamboo with four finger holes.

Audio of the instrument recording sessions are also available to download from the No Hats No Hoods Bandcamp, letting up-and-coming producers create their own tracks with the sounds recorded. Four additional bonus tracks from the project are also available on the No Hats No Hoods Bandcamp, along with the digital release.

The project was funded with a new Art new Audiences (nAnA) grant from the British Council's East Africa Arts team, which connects creatives from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and the UK.

London to Addis is on all major streaming platforms now.