Getatchew Mekuria (1935 - 2016) - A Lifelong History In Photos
Getatchew passed away on April 4, 2016 at the age of 81 after a musical career of more than 68 years. As a final tribute The Ex has published this photobook. 168 pages. Four sections of pictures; a selection from Getatchew's private album with historical photos and photos by three very different international photographers — Andy Moor, guitarist in The Ex, Matias Corral and Nick Helderman who came on tour in Europe, America and to Addis Abeba — to document this unique collaboration between Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex & Guests.
This photobook is the result of what appears to be an unlikely collaboration between Dutch underground band The Ex and Ethiopian saxophone legend Getatchew Mekuria. The Ex fell in love with an old Getatchew cassette from 1972, and in 2004 they wanted to invite him for their 25th Anniversary Festival. They went to Addis to find him and when they met, Getatchew was up for it right away.
The result was a fruitful 10-year collaboration with more than a 100 concerts worldwide, plenty of enthusiastic press and two beautiful CD/LPs.
In 2014, because of diabetes, he developed serious problems with his legs and couldn't travel any more. The Ex at that point decided to organise a Celebration of Getatchew Mekuria concert series in Ethiopia, including the National Theatre in Addis Abeba. It sold out. 1500 people came and there was a standing ovation. A truly honourable farewell to a great musician. Soon after this, his health began to deteriorate quickly.
The book is co-published by Terp Records and Ex Records and is available now from Ex Mailorder.
On 12 November they will be joined on stage by Fendika.
On 13 November they present The Ex Festival, a 3½ hour improv session featuring an eclectic cast of collaborators - Han Bennink, Terrie Hessels, John Butcher (England), Andy Moor, George Hadow (England), Katherina Bornefeld, Endris Hassen (Ethiopia), Misale Legesse (Ethiopia), Nardos Tesfaw (Ethiopia), Melaku Belay (Ethiopia), Zenash Tsegaye (Ethiopia), Paal Nilssen-Love (Norway), Ken Vandermark (USA), Zea, Lena Hessels, Api Uiz (France), Zerfu Demissie (Ethiopia) and Circus Debre Berhan (Ethiopia).
4 April 2016
Getatchew Mekuria : 14 March 1935 – 4 April 2016
Getatchew passed away today at the age of 81 after a musical career of 68 years. He was a truly unique saxophone player. Born in the countryside of Ethiopia, he heard the saxophone on the radio at the age of 13 and went to Addis Abeba straight away. He wanted to play saxophone! And soon after that he got himself into the Municipality Band. Later he played in the Haile Selassie Orchestras, the National Theatre Orchestra and more.
Since 2004 he played regularly with The Ex. It was his choice after hearing us at one of our festivals. He recognized something in our music which reminded him of the early groups he was in, like the Fetan Band (Speed Band). He loved playing with us and for us it was also an incredible experience. He was always totally himself, full-on intense and dedicated. We played more than 100 concerts and made two beautiful albums together.
The last few years his health was not very good. He couldn't really go on tour anymore. As a kind of farewell concert for his fans, we organised a big event in the National Theatre in Addis Abeba. He got lots of attention and respect that night: 1500 people in the audience, three TV stations and a legendary concert. Getatchew was playing while sitting on a chair, but his playing was stronger than ever.
His whole life was music. With his unique sound and approach he leaves behind an eternal inspiration! We will miss him.