Dexter Story is a Los Angeles-based producer, multi-instrumentalist, and bandleader who’s worked with Madlib, Kamasi Washington, Carlos Niño, Sa-Ra Creative Partners, and more. After sitting in as a drummer for the Ethiopian jazz ensemble Ethio Cali in 2011, he began composing and arranging for the group, developing an interest in East African music that eventually culminated with the release of his 2015 album Wondem, melding modern funk, soul, and jazz with music and culture from Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, and Kenya.
Since then, Story has continued to delve into East African music. We’re going to hear the results of his exploration in the form of another full-length album, Bahir, featuring the talents of local Los Angeles musicians alongside artists like Ethiopian producer Endeguena Mulu and singer Hamelmal Abate, whom Story met while traveling in Africa. He’s already shared a collaboration with Abate, “Shuruba Song,” and now he’s sharing another new song called “Gold,” which features vocals and violin from Sudan Archives’ Brittney Parks.
Parks is a kindred spirit to Story, a Los Angeles-based musician who takes inspiration from Sudanese fiddle tradition. We named her 2018 release Sink, a heady blend of R&B, electronic, and classical, one of the best EPs of last year. “I was intrigued by Sudan Archives’ name because it speaks to methodology and preservation all at once,” Story says. “We met through a mutual friend and this song is a result of us sharing and developing our musical wishes at the time.” “Gold” is a deep groove driven by Parks’ violin and coolly confident vocals, and you can dive into it below.
04/01 Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon (album release show)
Bahir is out 3/15 on Soundway Records. Pre-order it here.