Dub Colossus ‘In A Town Called Addis’ CD (Real World) 4/5

One of the most anticipated live acts at this year’s Womad and now on a couple of weeks residency in Edinburgh as part of the annual festival, Dub Colossus have attracted a good deal of media attention in recent months. Does the album live up to the hype? The answer is a resounding thumbs up and must surely be a prime contender for best world roots fusion album of the year. Of course, western roots fans have been enthralled by the superb Ethiopiques re-issue series pioneered by French enthusiast Francis Falsetto and Dub Colossus clearly have been inspired by this awesome ongoing series. On the haunting ‘Tazeb Kush’ it is clearly the Ethiopian side that comes to the fore with beautiful tenor sax and vocals courtesy of Bahta Gecrehiwot. However, it is the intriguing combination of modern Ethiopian sounds with Jamaican dub that has rightly grabbed the headlines and this is no better exemplified than on ‘Ento to dub’ with subtle use of the kraar harp with several other fine examples on the album. One should not forget that for many Rastafarians Ethiopia is considered the homeland and thus the musical connection is a very organic one. What impresses here is the degree of respect for the two countries musical traditions and crucially the sensitivity displayed in fusing the two so effortlessly. Unquestionably one of the soundtracks to the summer and destined to remain so for several summers to come.

Tim Stenhouse