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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Impressions of Ethiopia

Le Mondo is excited to welcome the much-lauded musician and composer Kaethe Hostetter to our Baltimore stages for Impressions of Ethiopia, a solo multimedia music work drawing from the sights, sounds, and experiences of her adopted hometown of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Opening up this special evening is Baltimore-based performer, Troy Long.

Impressions of Ethiopia

Sunday, March 3

Door/Bar: 6:30PM | Show: 7:30PM




Kaethe Hostetter

Kaethe Hostetter is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger with a DIY ethos and adventurous artistic spirit. Her musical roots spread from classical and chamber music to free jazz and improvisation scenes to Ethiopian and indigenous musical traditions. After connecting with Sudanese-born, avant-garde saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, the Debo Band was formed, an ensemble that released three acclaimed albums and toured internationally.

Debo Band takes inspiration from a golden era of popular music in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the late '60s and early '70s. During a brief period of cultural freedom in Ethiopia, funk and soul music fused spectacularly with local traditions. Debo Band's debut album both honors and updates the sound of "swinging Addis." [...] [The band] lock into grooving hooks worthy of Nigerian Afrobeat. But the distinctive scales and harmonies are unmistakably Ethiopian. NPR

After playing Ethiopian music for five years, Hostetter moved to Ethiopia in 2009, positioning herself as a student of the indigenous music to absorb the culture and foster friendships with musicians. She spent 11 years based there, immersing in the scene of traditional musicians, learning the language, documenting musical traditions. She dedicated herself to listening to the voice of her collaborators in a very nuanced way, and meanwhile created space for new styles of improvisation in an otherwise deeply traditional world.

During this time, Hostetter became a sought after collaborator with well known Ethiopian artists, playing stages for 150,000 people with the legendary Teddy Afro, and working in the studio with Mahmoud Ahmed. After years of fruitful collaboration, jamming, and working with a wide array of musicians in remote areas, she eventually settled on a symbiotic group of top traditional musicians in the scene. Together, they honed their ensemble, QWANQWA, named after the Amharic word for language. QWANQWA performed at Addis Ababa's nightclubs, building a devoted following through their distinctive blend of traditional instruments, public domain Ethiopian melodies, and experimental bursts of expression.

Qwanqwa is something else, beholden neither to folk nor to jazz. Instead, the group makes eclectic music with the Horn of Africa in mind and their interrelationships as collaborators and people driving forth their exceptional creative vision. PopMatters

In 2020, with borders closing due to COVID, Hostetter left Ethiopia abruptly to quarantine with her mother during the unclear times. Soon after, civil war broke out in Ethiopia and the deteriorating safety and human rights situation made it uninhabitable for foreigners and many Ethiopia-born citizens. 

Resettling in Brooklyn, Kaethe used her inside knowledge to magnify the voices of her bandmates who were now raising their families in a war torn state. She started teaching herself how to produce international tours and in 2022, with the support of a MacArthur Foundation grant, QWANQWA reunited in the US for a 3-month DIY tour. They played over 60 concerts at a vast array of venues - from storied rock clubs to prestigious institutions - including collaborating with Tomeka Reid and Here In Now for a highly anticipated performance at Hyde Park Jazz Festival in Chicago.


Impressions of Ethiopia is Hostetter's most personal and mature musical work to date. Based on her years living in Ethiopia, Hostetter uses violin and electronics to draw on a variety of influences and impressions of her adopted hometown of Addis.

This solo multimedia project uses electronics and loops, storytelling, video projection to share a personal journey and be a door to a world that is now undergoing serious ethnic conflict.

She has performed this work in NYC at Brooklyn Bowl, opening for Antibalas and Bombino. Now, she brings this beautiful new work to Baltimore at Le Mondo on Sunday, March 3, 2024.

Troy Long

Troy Long is a pianist, producer, and composer from Baltimore Maryland. Troy got his start in music through the Baltimore School for the Arts' TWIGS program, where he studied saxophone from 5th-8th grade with the late Dominic Selvi. He then transitioned to their high school, where he continued to study both the classical and jazz genres.

After high school, Troy discovered his love for the piano and began to teach himself to play while studying Jazz Saxophone at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Two years into his studies, he made the decision to switch to studying jazz piano. He has studied with Tim Green, Gary Thomas, Tim Murphy, Alexander Brown, Nasar Abadey, and Alex Norris. He currently plays piano and co writes music for Baltimore Based group Upendo, led by Brandon Woody.

Troy has performed with musicians and artists that span most musical genres and has made it his mission to express the universality of music through his own artistry.

Le Mondo's programming is supported in part by The Creative Baltimore Fund, a grant program funded by the Mayor's Office and the City of Baltimore, among others!


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