When I first started working at KCRW, I asked all the DJs how they could possibly find the gems in the massive amounts of music sent their way and one thing they all said is check the labels. I’d never paid much attention to labels before, but they have become incredibly musical tour guides for me. Always knowing slightly what to expect (genre-speaking) while often being pleasantly surprised.
Sonar Kollektiv, founded by Berlin-based DJ/producer collective Jazzanova, always has interesting releases and when I first got my hands on the new CD by Fetsum, I was really taken by it. It’s worldly collection of sounds, and his warm, magnetic vocals drew me in.
The artist’s parents were Eritrean revolutionists during the country’s 30-year War Of Independence and he was born in Egypt, later moving to Italy and then settling in Germany.
Inspired by soul, reggae, blues, the music of Mali and folk, “The Colors of Hope” is a strong debut that covers a lot of ground.
“Letters from Damascus” is a KCRW favorite.
Fetsum will be playing live in LA at School Night at Bardot on March 4.