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About the project

Dear Ethiopian friends! As we know, it is difficult to pay online in Ethiopia. We have added a Paypal option for this reason. If it is difficult to pay via Paypal, please send us an e-mail on [email protected] If you just want to support the project, you can share this page with your friends. Thank you!


Girma Bèyènè is a true legend of Ethiopian music. After exiling himself to the United States and disappearing from the music scene for 25 years, he has enthusiastically accepted Akalé Wubé's invitation to join them and take his place as frontman once again.

This comeback happened last September during a memorable concert at the Studio de l'Ermitage in Paris. Tracks (Arte), Le Monde and Libération have all shared and published this major event which stirred strong emotions amongst Ethiopian music fans and beyond.

Of course, this adventure could not have stopped at that ...

Under the direction of Francis Falceto (producer of the famous Ethiopiques series), Girma and Akalé Wubé will be joining forces again and enter the studio in May 2016 to immortalise this rebirth. The resulting album will be released in the fall of 2016 under the prestigous label BUDA MUSIC. And all our backers will be receiving this album before the rest of the world!

Photo : Cyril Fussien

Video clip on Girma Bèyènè and his meeting with Akalé Wubé on "TRACKS" (ARTE)

"Best of" video clip from the live concert "Akalé Wubé feat. Girma Bèyènè" at the Studio de l'Ermitage in September 2015

Girma in Paris with Akalé Wubé : Part 1 - The Tour Eiffel

Girma in Paris with Akalé Wubé : Part 2 - The Soundcheck


What are the funds for?

Today we’re asking for your help to be able to finalise this project. Thanks to your participation we will be able to cover :

  1. Studio recording - 2,000 €
  2. Mixing of the album - 2,500 €
  3. Girma’s air ticket from Ethiopia to France and back  - 1,100 €
  4. Administrative expenses / Shipping / Taxes - 1,400 €

TOTAL (100%) - 7,000 €


  1. Up to 8,000 € :  The album launch concert in Paris will be filmed and will be made available to be streamed live on the internet in real time! So all of you unable to attend the concert will be able to watch the show form the comfort of your homes.
  2. …and beyond :  2 tracks from the album launch concert will be made available exclusively to all our backers + 1 track remixed from the very first Akalé Wubé EP

About the project owner

Photo : Cyril Fussien​

Girma Bèyènè disappeared from the Addis Abeba music scene in 1981. Miraculously, he was invited by the exiled producer Amha Eshèté to tour the US with the Wallias Band and three singers (Mahmoud Ahmed, Gétatchèw Kassa and Wubishet Fisseha). Girma chose to never return back to the military-Stalianian paradise of Ethiopian dictator Menguistou. Another six musicians followed in his steps. The freshly exiled quickly realised that the Ethiopian community in the US was too small and restrained to offer them enough work to get by as full time musicians. What followed was a chaotic life full of odd jobs which increasingly left less and less time for music.

Girma’s first return to his dear homeland happened on invitation from the 7th Ethiopian Music Festival of Addis Abeba in May 2008, which was held around a tribute to Girma Bèyènè and some other exiled saxophone players from the 80s (Moges Habte, Tilaye Gèbrè, Tewodros Meteku).

Following that invitation, Girma quietly settled back in Addis for good. It was a discrete affair, considering the huge reputation which he still held in Ethiopia, especially within circles of influential contemporary musicians. Also considering the impressive fan base he garnered with jazz and world music lovers from all around the globe through the publication of the Ethiopiques series, first in line being the members of the band Akalé Wubé.

Those who have never seen Akalé Wubé play live have little idea of the groove we’re talking about. They’re not about showy musical feats, neither about posed stage antics. They are all about good old, pure grooves, sober and lyrical, the kind to move feet and lighten hearts. They are already three albums in, three records of pure creative devotion to the cause. None of the covers played are copy/pasted, and all their ethio-grooves are revisited with liberty and passion - the best way to pay tribute and give back life to a genre of music and to a musician which has been, for far too long, put aside and forgotten…until now.

Now it is these guys that have listened, appreciated, covered, reinvented and unpretentiously invited Girma Bèyènè … and Girma was totally up for it! An unpredictable meeting that could take any direction, luckily we love risks! Girma Bèyènè featuring Akalé Wubé, or the other way round? In any case it will be a heavyweight match.


Having recorded only these four songs, this singer was mostly active as a pianist, composer and arranger. Things moved very fast during this era in Addis. Girma was playing and recording with a lot of musicians. After the Ras Band, then the Girmas Band and the All Star Band (1970-1972), he was most prolific with Alèmayèhu Eshèté and the Alèm-Girma Band (1972-1974) (Ethiopiques vol.9 Alèmayèhu Eshèté). Finally, during a US tour with the Wallias Band (1981), he decided to stay there and not return to Menguisou’s dictatorship paradise. He continued playing for a few years in Ethiopian clubs and restaurants on the east coast.

During the whole peak period of vinyl production (1969-1978), it was Girma Bèyènè’s persona that dominated the majority of recording sessions. He is credited as an arranger on over 60 tracks, whilst Mulatu Astatqé (Ethiopiques vol.4), considered as the major arranger, can be found on around 40 recordings. Besides that, Girma also participated as a pianist or composer on at least 25 tracks. Over and beyond statistics, what is important is the difference in both of their styles, since they also happened to collaborate on a few projects. Girma, prolific and self-taught, innovated by modelling a light pop sound to an image of an Ethiopia in constant mutation and in the grip of the foreign devil.

Even though he is admired for his musical elegance as well as his dress taste, Girma has had one of the most unfortunate destinies in the history of Ethiopian music. His compatriots might still remember his charming voice and his pop sensibilities, but they have completely forgotten his role as musical innovator. Whilst Mahmoud Ahmed started as a shoe polisher and became a national star, adored by many, Girma is a modest, self-taught musician from a well-off family who ended up anonymous and forgotten in Ethiopian culture after having been the first independent arranger in the sixties. His destiny was to be exiled in the US and swallowed up in “Little Ethiopia” on the east coast.


In their 6 years of existence, Akalé Wubé have never stopped widening the canvas onto which they lay their music, which keeps becoming richer and deeper just like the their primary source of inspiration: the popular Ethiopian repertoire of the 60s and 70s. The band started off covering music from the “Ethiopiques” series, after which they immersed themselves deeper into Ethiopian music, all the while multiplying their collaborations with musicians and dancers from Ethiopia, Africa and Europe. Slowly but surely, clocking in at around 200 concerts in Europe, Asia and Africa, the band has become one of the world’s leading ambassadors of Ethiopian groove.

Etienne de la Sayette: tenor & baritone saxophone, bansuri flute, washint
Paul Bouclier: trumpet, percussions, krar
Loïc Réchard: guitar
Oliver Degabriele: electric bass
David Georgelet: drums
Pierre Dachery: sound

Akalé Wubé has released three albums, “Akalé Wubé”, “Mata” and "Sost", all critically acclaimed by critics and both have been featured on numerous compilations. The quintet have played over two hundred concerts, in Europe, Africa, Asia ...

References :

Fête de la musique de Radio France (2012) live from park André Citroen - Paris on all Radio France stations, Festival Jazz à Vienne, Jazz sous les Pommiers (Coutances), la Cigale (Paris), monthly residence at Studio de l'Ermitage since 2010, Paris, etc..., Tours in Morocco, Ethiopia, Belgium, Denmark, Malta, China, South Korea (Gwangju World Music Festival), South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland (Bushfire Festival), London Jazz Festival, Shanghai Jazz Festival, Festival des Suds (Arles), Azgo Festival (Mozambique), Poland, Germany etc...

Collaborations :

Singers : Madjid Bekas, Genet Asefa, Zewditou Yohannes, Eric Menneteau, Souad Asla, Nuru Kane, Karim Chaya, RaceacaR

Dancers : Melaku Belay, Fikerte Teka

Musicians : Manu Dibango, Girma Bèyènè, Cheick Tidiane Seck, Krar Collective, Lansiné Diabaté, Fanta Mara, Blundetto, David Neerman, Emmanuel Duprey, Vincent Peirani, Vincent Bucher, Simon Winsé, Mathias Mahler, Benoit Giffard, Thomas N'ing, Cyrille Méchin, Yoann Loustalot, Olivier Zanot, Etienne Raguenel, Erwan Loeffel, Mathieu Jerôme, Clément Janinet, Etienne Raguenel, Laurian Daire...


Francis Falceto with Girma Bèyènè in 2015 (photo : Cyril Fussien)​

Francis Falceto is a French musicographer and music producer, specialising in world music, particularly Ethiopian music which he has helped spread internationally since 1986.

Francis Falceto programmes different world music acts at the Confort Moderne de Poitiers since 1984, when he discovered a 33 vinyl by Mahmoud Ahmed thanks to Bernard Gallodé. In 1985 he decided to embark on a voyage to Ethiopia (via Moscow due to reasons linked to Derg’s regime at the time) to meet Mahmoud Ahmed. In 1986 he republished the singer’s ethio-jazz album “Erè Mêla Mèla” (1975) on the Belgian label Crammed Discs. After the album’s success in Europe and the US, in 1996 he decided to create the “Ethiopiques” collection with published Buda Musique, with the aim of unearthing and sharing with the world the successful collection of Ethiopian music from the period ranging from 1950-1975, most of them produced by Amha Eshèté for Amha Records and Ali Abdilla Kaifa for Kaifa Records. For all the same reasons, Falceto also gives numerous conferences and talks around this same subject.


Amongst the different rewards available to our backers, we are offering previous Akalé Wubé records and a good deal of exclusive music and goodies! Here is what we are offering :

Akalé Wubé - Akalé Wubé​


Akalé Wubé - Sost​


Akalé Wubé feat. Manu Dibango (45t vinyl)


Akalé Wubé - Plays Ethiopian Grooves Greatest Hits (EP)


Akalé Wubé Tote Bag


If you still have an unanswered question, feel free to ask the project owner directly.

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