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"Ethiopia's Greatest Guitarist: Gabriele Guma"

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by Sosinna Tesfa
When Tesemma Gabriele Tesfa Guma arrived in Washington, D.C., some nine years ago, he came with a strong desire to live out his dream as an artist. His first challenge was mastering the English language and then establishing himself in the art community. Through great effort and pure talent, he has since earned the moniker "the greatest guitar player of all time" (the "G.O.A.T. Guma") from fellow musicians in Philadelphia. Tesemma also managed to earn a position as one of the principal modern ballet dancers for the highly acclaimed modern dance company, Philadanco, (which is favorably compared to the internationally known Alvin Ailey Dance Company), before recently leaving to teach at the Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet. He attributes his current success to his relentless hard work and the support he obtains from his siblings residing in Virginia.

Tesemma left Addis Ababa as an infant and lived in the tiny kingdom of Lesotho in Southern Africa for a brief period. At the age of four he and his mother moved to Senigallia in Italy. By the time Tesemma moved to the United States in his late teens, he was already an accomplished guitar player and was working on developing his talent for composing and arranging music. Despite having left his land of birth at such an early age, Tesemma always regarded his Ethiopian roots highly and made sure he learned about his homeland and culture. Whether performing at the Kennedy center with Philadanco, being interviewed for radio and television, or performing with his phenomenal rock-soul fusion band, Tangible Truth, Tesemma takes every opportunity to link his audience to his Ethiopian heritage.

Tesemma's early years were nurtured by his love for music and entertainment. Once, while the young Tesemma and his father were browsing through a toy store, a keyboard caught his interest. Thereafter his life would never be the same. From these humble beginnings, Tesemma went on to play the guitar and become a dancer. After overcoming his struggle with the notion that being a performing artist is not a widely accepted profession, he formed a rock band in Italy and managed to tour Europe. This experience alone was enough to assure him that pursuing his love for music was exactly what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. It was then that he committed himself to put all of his energy and efforts to succeed in the entertainment business.

As a modern dancer, Tesemma has been able to tour around the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Far East. He hopes to do the same with his Philadelphia-based band, Tangible Truth, which is currently part of this nation's neo-soul music movement.

Tangible Truth has a sound like no other band currently on the market. It combines the intricate sounds of soul, jazz, rock, and hip-hop music. This avant-garde group is on the cutting edge of live band music, redefining the musical zeitgeist. Tangible Truth's musical style has been compared to that of Jill Scott, Jamiroquai, Erykah Badu, Lenny Kravitz, and Santana.

Tesemma produces, arranges, and co-authors the lyrics with his musical partner, Topaz Wise. His musical influences include Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, B.B. King, Jamiroquai, Santana, and Led Zeppelin. His interpretations of music are unique and play out like a production. When performing at large venues such as the Spectrum Stadium in Philadelphia, Tangible Truth boasts a nine-member band comprised of a horn section as well as modern ballet dancers. Tesemma's ultimate goal is to combine on stage his love for music and dance. He achieved this aspiration on Tangible Truth's first music video for their single, Saturday, featured on their debut album, One Nation. Saturday is currently on rotation on radio stations such as FM Station (Addis Ababa), Solar Radio (London), Power 99 (Philadelphia), Hot 97 (New York), WHAT 93.5 FM (Temple University Radio), and is soon to hit the airwaves in Italy and other local stations in Europe, Africa, and the United States. Ethiopians in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area can also catch reruns of Tangible Truth's live television performance on 8101 Show, MHz Networks.

Determined to stay true to his music, Tesemma has forged ahead teaming up with a family-operated company, EIDC Productions, in order to produce, promote, and distribute his music independently. "The whole idea of the kind of music I produce," says Tesemma, "is not only for the general public, but one that attempts to capture the souls and hearts of musicians as well. That is difficult to achieve once your music becomes commercialized to fit today's pop culture sound." Hence, with EIDC's backing, Tesemma has chosen to take the independent music route. He predicts that live band music is on the fast track back these days, giving artists like hi - Tadias Magazine

"Gabriele & Tangible Truth: A Music Review"

In the midst of Philly's extensive line of musical masterminds, Gabriele & Tangible Truth has emerged as a force in their own right. The group, featuring the sounds of guitarist Gabriele Guma, formed out of the jam sessions and open mics which has help shape the Philadelphia music scene throughout the last decade. Distinguishing their sound from fellow soul artists, Gabriele & Tangible Truth is currently working on their debut album. In the meantime, the group has released several singles which have received a strong response on domestic and international radio stations. The group's first single, "Saturday" presents a sound that is reminescent of Sade's all-star band, Sweetback. The strength of the track itself allows the lead vocalist to compliment the melodies when necessary. Nonetheless, this song is all about Guma's signature style, a fusion of rock harmonies with a twist of soul. The live instrumentation suggests a feeling of intimacy, configuring images of a smoke-filled room with a lonely songstress standing center stage, sharing her sad memories with those who are willing to hear. In turn, the listener feels as if they too were there, experiencing the strength of such a love.

Where "Saturday" soothes, "One Nation" excites and energizes. Featuring the lyirical prowess of Philly-based hip-hop artist, "One Nation" brings back the funk. The track is organized as though it were a jam session, with more prominent vocals, horns and rhymes. If anything, "One Nation" demonstrates the newer dimensions of the Philadelphia sound, cultivated in open mic performances and jam sessions. While "One Nation" provides a high-energy sound for listeners, "Meant to Be" creates a smooth, slow feeling. The track itself is beautiful, and while the vocals appear to be a little too heavy for the softness of the song, the repetitive phrase, "we were meant to be/ your love completes me," is enough to keep listeners engaged.

A little more jazzy, "Blues Struck" allows the vocalist to showcase her signature vocal riffs. The breakdown catches the listener by surprise , sounding like a song within a song, only to bring back the up-beat rhythms of the track. Once again, Gabriele's guitar tricks save the day, completing the musical sounds of the song. Of all the tracks, however, "When in Wait" appears to have the most innovative sound. Simplistic in nature, the song reminds one of the smoooth R&B of the 90s. The track sounds like "real music," something that is hard to find these days. "When in Wait" has a laid back feel, yet it is very complex, combining various elements to create a really good song. Between Gabriele's guitar antics and the overall production, one might think of the styles of Raaphael Saadiq during and after Tony Toni Tone. Following the logic that less will always be more, "When in Wait" gently approaches the listener. Unobtrusive, it may take the listener a little while to figure out that they are, in fact, being seduced by the song: slowly but surely.

Giving fans and admirers a sneak peek of what is yet to come, Gabriele & Tangible Truth has also created a remix of "Saturday" featuring a Washington, D.C. based hip-hop artist. "Saturday Hip-Hop" is funky enough to be a hot musical track, while still incorporating the fullness of an innovative hip-hop sound. The overall sound and feel of the song is determined by Gabriele and guest Hip-Hop lyricist. While the remix is a nice complement to the group's sound and exemplifies their ability to build upon a musical concept, "Saturday" appears to be a classic itself and in no need of revision.

In essence, Gabriele & Tangible Truth appears to provide just that, a practical application of the musical truth. Thier creative sounds and techniques accompany the music scene as artists and listeners alike attempt to locate and explore new levels of music. With this in mind, it is only a matter of time before Gabriele and Tangible Truth becomes a household name.

Gabriele and Tangible Truth's EP is a "must buy" and can be picked up at:

- By Stephanie Joy Tisdale/ Howard University



" of the next big thing out of Philly!"
Tiffany Bacon- Power 99 FM

"..They're an homage to the experimentation and social
consciousness of the 70's while giving a nod to the
modernist mixing of genres (hip hop/funk/soul)
happening now".


"....Brand new funk!"

Dave Warren-1340AM-WHAT

"...One of the most charismatic groups I have ever

Quiet Rage-Spoken Word duo

..."I know that you are destined to be a success. Your
mixture of funky rhythms, a splash of rock and a whole
lot of philly soul leaves me anxiously waiting for the
opportunity to share Gabriele & Tangible Truth with
the rest of the world!!!".


..." Loving the new tracks. Soulful, funky, with a
rock edge.....that's what I am talking about. Keep
that music coming".

Afternoon Groove-WEBR

..." Recommended highly I foresee this band having
endless luck as the growth of genre they enter is
still untapped. Keep it up!!"

Mya Richardson- MG Entrert. - many...


GAB GUMA & TANGIBLE TRUTH released their acclaimed EP "WE'RE NOT FROM HERE" in 2002. Emerging from this collection of songs is the hit single 'SATURDAY' boasting regular radio play on Power99 FM (Philly), SOLAR RADIO (London) and a number of mainsreem, college and internet stations in U.S., EUROPE and AFRICA!!!GAB will be releasing the new album "KEEP ON RISING"in june 07`!!!! Check out the new hit songs "Born as a King" and "Where I belong" feat. the amazing Carol Riddick



GAB GUMA was born in ETHIOPIA and moved to ITALY @ the prime age of 2 and then landed in the U.S. @19. He's been playing guitar since the age of 14 learning from the best in various music styles, from Hendrix to Steve Vai, B.B. King to SRV, Miles Davis to Prince. When he came to the U.S. he discovered a passion for DANCE that took him around the world with companies like JOFFREY II and the famous PHILADANCO from Philadelphia! It was in Philly that he decided to finally form a band and build a performance around it that would express his love for both music and dance; a presentation of his artistic vision: A MESSAGE OF HOPE AND UNITY WRAPED UP IN SELF EMPOWERMENT AND GROWTH, DELIVERED WITH GREAT HONEST MUSIC AND A KILLER PERFORMANCE! GAB GUMA & Tangible truth has been rocking stages across the nation and over the air waves world wide for the past 5 years. GAB GUMA & Tangible Truth won 1st place at Lincoln Theater's Appolo Night in Washington, D.C., March 2003. Gabriele's collaboration with other artists earned him a nomination for BEST URBAN ACT twice @ the PHILADELPHIA MUSIC AWARDS 2004. Gab's collaborations has led him to appear or collaborate with artists like METHOD MAN, TWISTA, DRU HILL,INDIA IRIE,TAMIA, M.O.P., KINDRED, THE ROOTS, MOBB DEEP, CIARA, FLOETRY, FREEWAY, Bassist GERALD VEASLEY, SILVERTIDE, JAGUAR WRIGHT,FREDDIE JACKSON and many more......
Since the the release of their EP "WE'RE NOT FROM HERE" in 2002,GAB has been writing lots of incredible amount of new material that is in the process of being recorded. GAB GUMA and Tangible Truth are considering offers from independent and major lables, booking agents and promoters. In the effort of building a solid group of fans GAB GUMA & Tangible Truth keep on making music the old fashioned way......from the heart!!!!.....go ahead...check out our website and enjoy the music!!!!