SummaryThe Woima Collective was born from deep within the brass section of renowned German funk unit Poets Of Rhythm, as tenor sax player Johannes Schleiermacher became immersed in the rhythms and modes of the African music that the Poets love so much.
Johannes got inspired by the African rhythms after some excursions to Morocco, where he picked up lots of old cassettes and soaked up the very natural musical environment out there. People sitting out in the open jamming away was a far cry from his academic and classical training, and this Moroccan music seemed to flow from the heart. Johannes particularly like the feeling of celebration and healing at the Gnawan trance performances, where the dance and music was so interlinked.
He also met Ethiopian jazz ambassador Mulatu Astatke, who taught him more about the different musical modes. After that Johannes just knew he had to play with other people who also loved this music and shared the same spirit and ideas. After an initial period of writing he brought together a group of ten musicians, with a view to recording a single. Combining the fiery rhythm section, with keys, guitar, and a five-man brass and woodwind combo, Johannes took the name for the group from a Guinean rhythm that his percussionist friend taught him - Woima, the rhythm of the magician.
Despite some of these musicians never having played together before, the studio sessions snowballed, and they ended up recording a couple of album's worth of material. Some credit to this productivity should also go to the Lovelite facility in Berlin, the club/rehearsal space/studio where Jimi Tenor and the Afrobeat Academy also record - where the set-up makes it easy to rehearse ideas and then hit record. So after three days rehearsal and a pair of two-day sessions, the Woima Collective had laid down a heap of tracks - well-formed arrangements that make perfect starting points for their live versions.
Combining the tight funk of groups like The Heliocentrics and the Poets Of Rhythm, with gnarly abyssinian brass and classic Mulatu-esque organ licks, the twelve tracks on Tezeta breeze into Europe on the Siroccan winds. At times, the band nods to dubby workouts like on the track 'No Way But Still Walking', at other times the brass section threaten to get free and atonal on the album closer 'Wilder Mann'. Nevertheless Tezeta takes the cohesive pulse of North Africa, and fi ts it in a groove that will run and run for days. The Woima Collective celebrates the hypnotic beauty of Ethiopian scales and African rhythms, but creates an unique sound out of those infl uences, leaving lots of space for the individual band members to do their dance.