Jano Band: Pioneers of unique genre of African music ‘Ethio-rock’

Most things happen in the music industry, but not all, if not nothing happens by chance. To most of the artists it is pure hard work that gets them that recognition plus that one thing that sets them apart from the rest.

Jano Band is one of those bands that has dared to do what other artists in their home country have not really ventured into, to the fairly young band, rock music is their definition and they perform with the highest level of artistry, some would describe them as the next thing to watch, they are essentially the custodians of rock music in Ethiopia.

The band of multi-talented artists was recently nominated in two categories in the African Music Awards (AFRIMA 3.0); The Best African Group and Best Group In African Rock. This would be Jano’s first African award nomination and sort of an ‘exposure’ for the group whose music has been well received in Ethiopia and to some of the die hard rock fans from beyond the Eastern Africa nation. The band’s music has taken what would be ‘the flawless growth curve’ to what is now their spotlight. They are now the driving force behind rock music in their homeland.

The band whose name was derived from a very popular and noble Ethiopian garment has a variety of influences from other genres and subgenres but rooted on the classic music from, their motherland, precisely music from the 60s and 70s. Their songs are a fusion of traditional instrumentation, rhythms, and dominant rock guitars for that unique sound christened as alternative Ethiopian rock. Thanks to the Amharic lyrics, their music sounds so rich and unique in texture and style.

The group founded in 2011, is composed of eight members, down from the original 10; Dibe, Kiru, Miky, Hailu, Dany, Hewan, Hale, Jonny. Jano is the brain child of veteran Marley family manager, who helped develop the careers of the likes of Ziggy Marley, Addis Gesesse.

“I felt that each generation has its own sound, so I talked to a few people around and just decided if I bring the young generation together and educated young kids, I felt that I can come up with something very unique and different from Africa”, Addis said in an interview with Errol Bennet, CNN Inside Africa.

The band’s debut album Ertale released in 2012 features some great artwork and musicianship, the album features marvelous funky riffs and spectacular drums. Their vibrancy is evident in the 10-tracks that make up album; Ethiopiawit Konjo, Yigermal, Irasen, Ayrak, Irrekum, Gude, Mariye, Mehed Mehed, Tazebkut, and Anchi Hagere. The band did splendid work on the album which served as their perfect entry to the Ethiopian music scene. They work around an array of bass sounds, electronic fusion metal influences and great vocalism to seal the package. Ayrak, a tune off the band’s first album helped put the band on the spotlight. The band’s delighting lyrics portray maturity with relevant messages full of inspiration.

The band is currently working on their second album, which promises to be the next hit from the prime acts in Ethiopia. “Yinegal” is one of the tunes that is expected to be in the band’s upcoming album together with a track which has so far attracted positive reviews from far and beyond.

They are truly making their mark in the industry scene, having traveled to different places worldwide and performed at various top stages from Europe’s Milan, Stockholm and Rome to the US and beyond. Their first album release was followed by a tour of the US in 2013. From rich lyrics to the incredible live stage performances boosted by their hungry desire to leave a lasting legacy, the ethio-rock band is definitely one to watch.

Check out “Yinegal” here: