Melbourne African Traditional Ensemble

Tradition, storytelling, language and connection to ancestral heritage through music.

The warm sounds of the Melbourne African Traditional Ensemble (MATE) gently carry the listener through a ruminative journey. Scintillating polyrhythms of the mbira and foot percussion dance elegantly beneath the harmonies of the strings, the krar (5 stringed lyre) and masinqo (1 string violin). Blended into the seamless weave of this aural cloth is a remarkable vocal range, imprinting raw fibres of oral history from the voice of Limpopo-born Valanga Khoza and his ancestral history of orators and storytellers, to the Eastern melodies and dulcet tones of Eritrean-born Anbessa Gebrehiwot.

MATE encompasses and represents the traditional sounds of each member’s respective country, collaborating to preserve important traditions in music; storytelling, language and connection to ancestral heritage to unite the diaspora and share the Pan African experience with the wider community.

Manal Younus and the JAzmaris

This thrilling new collaboration crosses borders, generations and artistry. The JAzmaris, Ethiopian jazz musicians Daniel Seifu (keyboard), Solomon Sisay (saxophone), Sonu Sangameswaran (bass) and Zelalem Negatu (drums) come together with young Eritrean poet Manal Younus to tell stories through music and spoken word. The sounds are inspired by great voices from both countries, such as Yemane Barya and Mahmoud Ahmed, and the words are inspired by everything it means to be African and of the diaspora.

This new work explores ancestry, family, freedom, divide, community and self-love. It will take you on a journey which to some might feel familiar, and to others, an opportunity to take a glimpse into another world.

Solidarity Members receive discounted tickets as well as other benefits throughout the year. Become a Solidarity member today.

This project has been co-commissioned by Nexus Arts and Multicultural Arts Victoria.