The Nazarenes are an Ethiopian roots reggae duo consisting of brothers Medhane Tewolde and Noah Isac Tewolde, both of whom are skilled singers, writers, arrangers, and producers. The brothers grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the 1970s. Medhane received his first guitar when he was 12 years old, and the musical course for the brothers was set, with Noah eventually taking up the bass. Both ended up playing in various bands in Europe, making Sweden their home base.
Medhane toured widely in the mid-'90s, working in the road groups of Zqulah, Mama Booker, and Culture Knox, while Noah landed a record deal with Virgin Records in 1992, eventually releasing three singles and an album with Virgin under the name Anbessa.
The brothers reunited musically in 1996, and began calling themselves the Nazarenes, releasing their debut album, Orit, in 2001 on Insteel Sounds. A concept album, Songs of Life, was released in Europe by Heartbeat Records in 2004 and was reissued a year later in the U.S. by Rounder Records. Displaying a firm grounding in classic roots reggae, the brothers' skilled writing and arranging skills give them an added pop dimension, and with an Ethiopian background, they were one of the most unique groups to hit the reggae scene in years.
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