Wax Poetics premieres “Lalibela,” the first single from the upcoming album release Wondem on Soundway Records. Click the image or here to listen.
“Wondem is a unique collection of songs inspired by my passion for and immersion into African music and culture over my career” says Los Angeles musician Dexter Story about his new album, set for release on October 23 on Soundway Records. The multi-instrumentalist and producer combined his diverse background in soul, funk, jazz, and folk into his own unique and worldly voice, with influences from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, and Kenya.
“This body of work came about as I began to compose and arrange for Todd Simon’s Ethio Cali, an emerging Ethio-jazz ensemble in Los Angeles. Wondem means brother in Amharic, and I felt a strong brotherly connection to Ethiopia during the process.”
The album was written and recorded in Story’s studio in downtown Los Angeles, and coproduced by the talented Carlos Niño. In addition, Story worked with an array of collaborators on the record, including Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Nia Andrews, Alsarah Elgada, and Yared Teshale.
In anticipation of the record, Wax Poetics is premiering the lead track, “Lalibela,” featuring Yared Teshale.
“The song ‘Lalibela’ was composed in tribute to the eleven great rock churches and the holy city in the north of Ethiopia. My mind couldn’t (and can’t) comprehend how they were excavated with precision like that, and I sing praises to them,” says Story. “Lalibela is an important pilgrimage center for Ethiopians, and I hope to visit there soon. The layout of the churches is said to be a replica of Jerusalem commissioned by Emperor Saint Gebre Lalibela in the twelth century. The track features vocalist Yared Teshale from Addis Ababa.”
Dexter Story is a man with many talents—he was the product manager for Snoop Dogg, Meshell Ndegeocello’s day-to-day representative, and later performed with artists such as Dwight Trible, Madlib, Quadron, Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Kelis, Kamasi Washington, and the Gaslamp Killer Experience.