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When researching the history of black music, it is not enough to go back a mere hundred years to blues, call and response songs, and slave spirituals. To discover its truest essence, you must return to Africa, to the beginning; country by country, village by village, and tribe by tribe, until you feel the spirit of each community as it is reflected in their music.
EX-CENTRIC SOUND SYSTEM is the result of many journeys, a chance meeting, and a gathering. Yossi Fine was a respected professional session bassist in Israel by the age of sixteen. As his reputation grew, he played, recorded, and toured extensively with Kenny Kirkland, Gil Evans, Ruben Blades, John Scofield, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Me’Shell N’degeoccello, Naughty By Nature and Stanley Jordan.
Yossi was fascinated by the shared origins of African, Latin, Caribbean, and African-American music. He first met Nana Dadzie during a world tour of Nana's African Drum and Dance Company, and Yossi and Nana began to experiment with mixing African folkways and dance with modern clubby styles. Yossi gathered much of the material later used by Ex-Centric Soud System during his travels by manipulating sounds and samples with a tape recorder, DAT player, or video camera.
Yossi and Nana fused these samples, electric bass, sequences, digital delays, and echoes with ancient African instruments like homemade flutes, bullhorn, kalimba (African thumb piano), bagana (Ethiopian harp), and kora (West African harp). Dadzie, who is the son of a chief of Ghana’s Fante tribe, plays on intricately carved drums that have been passed down from father to son for centuries. Blessed by generations of hands, Nana’s drums resonate with ages of rhythms and memories.
As the jam sessions gained heat and momentum, other gifted artists were invited to sit in: Benjamin “Sai” Kouelho, Adevo Savour, and Michael Avgil. The five members merged their ancestral recollections, tastes, and talents into the groove. They blended dialects from Africa and the diaspora such as Kreyol (West Indies/Haiti), Ga, Ewe, and Fante (Ghana), Amharic (Ethiopia), and Tutsi and Hutu (Rwanda) with a stripped-down funky heavy bass and trap drum and Ex-Centric Sound System began to take shape.
The band hit the road running in 1997 and their highly original sound and onstage charisma got them booked into several important jazz, reggae and world music festivals. Meanwhile, they recorded their debut album, Electric Voodooland, at King Solomon's Shack, Yossi's studio in Tel Aviv. The music ranges from a weighty, muscular dub to a sweetly harmonized anthem and a lullaby tribute to women raising children in embattled Rwanda. So pause, reflect and be drawn inside Electric Voodooland.