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Sunday, September 26, 2010


Imperial Tiger Orchestra to hit live music spots of Cape Town, Joburg, Durban, Harare and Maputo.

Inspired by the Golden Age of Ethiopian modern music (1969-1978) Imperial Tiger Orchestra is soon to hit the live music spots of Southern Africa. Their tour includes Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban as well as Harare and Maputo and is presented by Pro Helvetia Cape Town, the Swiss Arts Council.

Founded by Raphaël Anker, Imperial Tiger Orchestra began with an invitation from Cave12, the legendary experimental live music event in Geneva. Given carte blanche to play what he liked, Anker took the opportunity as an admirer of Ethio-Jazz to experiment with a particular music scale, common in Ethiopian music and what they played at the start of their union was more in the style of free jazz and ‘noise’.

While preserving the natural beauty of the Ethiopian melodies and sound, this six-piece Geneva-based orchestra is not to be mistaken for a covers band. Improvising and experimenting, the musicians explore uncharted territories with their powerful instrumentation of horn, percussion and keyboards, adding distortion and noise to the revamped and reworked original vocal songs with the sax or keyboard replacing the singer.

Embracing dark hypnotic rhythms, obsessive basslines and grooves from electronic music, the orchestra members surprise and impress with their use of the traditional Thai "phin" guitar together with the traditional Ethiopian "kebero" percussion. Band members include leader Raphaël Anker (trumpet), John Menoud (baritone saxophone), Alexandre Rodrigues (keys), Cyril Moulas (bass guitar and phin), Julien Israelian (drums) and Luc Détraz (percussion).

A special feature of their Southern African tour is the inclusion of Ethiopian musician Endres Hassen, who plays the masenqo, a traditional single-stringed violin.

Concluding their tour, their Durban concert will taek place on October 9 at 19h30 at the Poetry Africa Finale, BAT Centre, Durban. Tickets R50 at the door.

More information about Imperial Tiger Orchestra and their tour from Eitan Prince at Pro Helvetia Cape Town on 021 465 9033 / 083 254 8789 or visit and