Musica Road to Womex – KUTU

Photo ©: Aurore Fouchez

As we gear up for Womex in A Coruña, we’re also on the brink of wrapping up our Musical Road to Womex adventure for this year. While our journey has been pointing us towards Spain, we couldn’t resist a tantalising pit stop in neighbouring France, where we stumbled upon a musical gem – KUTU.

Kutu is a dynamic Ethio-trance ensemble, fusing jazz’s liberating essence with the raw depth of Azmari sounds. Born from the meeting of violinist Théo Ceccaldi and Ethiopian vocalists Hewan Gebrewold and Haleluye Tekletsadik in Addis Ababa, Kutu draws inspiration from the fervent nights of the city’s underground scene, reminiscent of the musical fervor of the sixties.

This fusion of modern poetry, tribal rhythms, and electrifying elements creates a powerful and captivating performance. Kutu’s music embodies an incandescent Ethiopian trance where jazz’s freedom harmonises with the profound Azmari spirit.

Could you briefly introduce your music to someone new at Womex and share the key influences and origins of your unique sound?

KUTU is an Ethio-French project that I started in Addis Abeba back in 2019 with Hewan Gebrewold and Haleluya Tekletsadik.

The first influence that attracted me to Addis is the Ethiopiques record series, which had a great impact on me as a musician and violinist, especially the Azmari voices. I had the urge to go to to Addis Abeba on an adventure without knowing what the outcome would be. One night I discovered Jano Band, a famous Ethio-rock band. Hewan and Haleluya were the main singers. I was shocked by their energy on the stage. We jammed together the day aVer, and it was very free flowing and inspiring. It was the beginning of a great journey.

Could you share a personal anecdote or experience that significantly impacted your musical journey and the evoluWon of your sound?

Our first trip to Addis Abeba with the enWre band in April 2021 was a powerful experience. We were in residency at the Alliance Française for 2 weeks, rehearsing and trying to find the best arrangements to make the music to sound what our souls represent. We discovered in the evenings a lot of music places, cultural centers like Fendika, azmaribets like Fendisha, a night club called Vardas with live music every night, and we dove deeply in the Addis Abeba atmosphere that gave us a lot of inspiraWon for the music.

In a world full of diverse musical genres, styles, and tradiWons, how do you believe your music stands out and brings something fresh and exciting to the audience’s ears?

I think KUTU brings a brand new fresh sound to African and Western ears. We mix a lot of trancy electro phases with traditional voices, jazz and rock energy and we are not the usual European band playing traditional songs and inviting Ethiopian legend singers. Our goal was to bring something completely new with younger generaWon singers, completely open to the world and new sounds.

As Womex is not only a Worldwide Music Expo but also a lively global music funfair, are there any showcases you’re looking forward to aNending and enjoying or arWsts parWcipaWng that you would like to meet during those five days?

Yes Im really enthusiasWc to discover new bands and talents coming from this beauWful planet. Specially I cant wait to see perform Asna (who made a remix of one Kutu track), BCUC, but also Kin’Gongolo Kiniata, La Sonora Mazuren from Colombia !

This edition of Womex will take place in A Coruña. Have you ever been there, and is there anything specific you’re looking forward to doing, visiting, eating, and/or drinking in the Spanish city?

No I’ve never been, and I’m looking forward to discovering the city and local cuisine. It’s always a great pleasure for the band to visit cities and taste the local food 🙂 Hopefully we will have a few hours to discover the sites.

Womex is a unique opportunity to share and showcase your music with new people and inform them about your upcoming projects. Could you reveal some of your plans for the future?

We are recording our second album right now, and hope it will have a powerful impact in the global music community. We played a lot in France since the band started touring in 2021. Womex is a great window for us to get opportuniWes to play internationally and bring our music in new territories.

If you had to draw an invitation card for our readers to join you at Womex and enjoy your showcase, what would you write in it? 

Come shake your funky booty on our Ethio-Trance fusion.


- KUTU will be performing at the Pelicano Stage on Friday 27th October from 9PM -





- You can find all the previous episodes of Musical Road to Womex HERE -