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Rophnan is pioneering Ethiopia’s electronic music scene; for years he’s been performing in Addis Ababa’s top venues, hosting his own radio show and writing and producing his own music, fusing distinctly Ethiopian ingredients into his tracks, edits, remixes and popular mixtapes. Rophnan has not only established the DJ as a pivotal figure in today’s Ethiopia, but he also has the chops to understand, dissect and reincorporate Ethiopia’s rich traditions into the futuristic language of electronic music.
The Reflection EP has been years in the making: Rophnan has been carefully selecting its ingredients, studying the deep roots of traditional music from different parts of this vast country, working with master instrumentalists, exploring sounds and rhythms to incorporate into his musical matrix, and then fine tuning his sound to perfection.
The EP is the culmination of this work, where a wide range of Ethiopian rhythms and scales can be heard, such as Guragigna, Gamo, Kemise and the famous Ambasel, all of it distilled into Rophnan’s powerful electronic arrangements.
The full length album was released in Ethiopia a few weeks ago and was received with great enthusiasm from both Rophnan’s grassroots following and new audiences, who were exposed to this kind of music for the first time, through mainstream media and digital channels alike. While it’s too soon to tell the impact of Rophnan’s novel sound, waves of support are growing, independent events dedicated to his music are popping up in different parts of the country, and even mainstream artists are joining the movement led by Rophnan, straddled between electronic music’s universal appeal, and the distinct sounds of Ethiopia’s diverse yet unifying traditions.