Braybrook artistic director and musician Daniel Seifu is using music to spread the sounds, culture and history of Ethiopia to new audiences. He speaks with Benjamin Millar
What’s your connection with the inner-west?
I have been living in the inner-west for more than eight years. I love the inclusive environment, multiculturalism, and diversity. The communities are friendly and there is a lot of art and culture, that’s always a benefit for me to share my music.
What do you like most about the area?
The diverse community, culture, art and dining options … always makes me feel at home. Ethiopian restaurants, Vietnamese and Indian restaurants and now modern cafes, burger places, and bars have made Footscray special for me.
What are your favourite local places?
Footscray Community Art Centre, Footscray market, Café Lalibela, Jambo Bar, 8 bit Footscray, French Baguette Cafe, Royal Café and littlefoot bar.
How did you become involved with music?
I studied music back home in Ethiopia and I was a resident musician, composer, and musical director at the Ethiopian National Theatre. Since I moved to Australia I have been playing with different bands, Black Jesus Experience, Dereb the Ambassador, Nhatty man and Gara, and my band The JAzmaris. The JAzmaris is a nine-piece Ethio-Jazz ensemble, paying tribute to a style of music unique in its sound, skill, and scale structure. Ethiopia has long been a land of exceptional musicianship and innovative hybrid styles, infusing influences from all four corners of the globe. The JAzmaris are intent on presenting our unique sounds and promoting the talent within Ethiopia to an international audience.
Why do you think it’s important to raise awareness of the Ethiopian community in Australia?
Ethiopians have a rich and diverse mix of culture, food, music, and art and we have a lot to contribute to the Australian multicultural society. By raising our profile through the art and culture, we can easily develop and build an understanding of our community’s, culture, awareness and interest to the rest of Australians.
What is something people may be surprised to learn about you?
I never had a chance to touch a musical instrument until I joined the first year of music college.
Daniel Seifu and The JAzmaris will be performing at Footscray Community Arts Centre on November 17 as part of the 2019 Due West Arts Festival. Details: