Soul Of Anbessa

Soul of Anbessa Records

The Soul of Anbessa record label - "anbessa" meaning "lion" in the ethiopian amharic language - is a small and totally independent label I started in 2006. It was created with one aim : releasing roots music with a conscious message, played by live musicians, as well as trying and finding back the lost sound of the golden era of the genre. That philosophy might sound very conservative, I'd rather call it very nostalgic...For this purpose, I decided to work with the very people who created this music, for who better than them would know how it should sound ? It allowed to spend unforgettable hours in Kingston studios with these musical giants. Watching these amazing artists playing the music I had been "composing" for months on my guitar is a feeling I really can't describe. I could already record many artists that were amongst my favourite. But there still are many more I am dreaming of adding to that list... I also wish to help and promote lesser known talents, like Jazzmine Black, Danny Culture, or UK based nigerian singer Ras Obi.

I released all my productions on vinyl 7" singles, for it's the classic format for jamaican music, and my favourite one as a collector. I am also planning to release some 12" in the future. A few months after their vinyl release, the songs are also made available on legal downoad, for the people who don't own a turntable any more. And are kind enough to actually pay for the music...My records are being sold in shops all over the world. The list can be found in the "shop" section.

In this adventure, I had the great luck to be able to count on the priceless help of my musical mentor Mr Harris "BB" Seaton. He opened his address book for me, and was always ready to help and advise me, with his musical knowledge and experience. I can never thank him enough for that. And of course my great friend Prince Alla, whom I met twelve years ago in Geneva thanks to Asher Selector, and has since become a very important person to me. I spent literally hundreds of hours singing and reasoning with Prince in his home in Greenwich Town, moments I could never have dreamt of when I discovered this wonderful artist's music many years ago. This is why Prince's song is always the first release on a new riddim. The great Dwight Pinkney also played a very important part in the adventure, always helpful and a real pleasure to work with.

I hope this is only a start. I have many plans and projects in mind, and I'll do my best to make them become a reality. So please keep your ears open...


- Adrien Oesch, who spent countless nights working on the mixes and dubs of my songs
- Inyaki, whose work with BDF is very inspirational for me, for his precious collaboration
- Darren Jamtone and Dub Terror for their wicked mixing skills
- Litelet, who not only is one of the wickedest vintage deep roots selector, but designed most of my labels.
- my brother Florian, who coproduced some ot the songs, when the finances were down low
- Ben, Joris and Thomas, from Kahuna Web Studio, who built me this beautiful website
- all the shops and buyers who support struggling independent labels like mine

Marc Ismail Bio (CEO Soul of Anbessa Records)
    - birth in Mendrisio (Ticino)
    - discovery of reggae, through a Bob Marley tape
    - start collecting reggae music, and reading about it
    - first reggae show, Ras Michael in Geneva
    - first trip to Jamaica
    - start DJ'ing, in the "Conquerin' Glion" (the name of my village) "sound system", with my friends Greg and Julien
    - first meeting with Prince Alla, in Geneva
    - trip to Ethiopia
    - first reggae article, in La Liberté
    - change in name for the "sound", which becomes "Soul of Anbessa"
    - end of my Contemporary History master degree work at Fribourg university : "It a go dread inna Switzerland"
    - recording of the Shuttle riddim, official birth of the Soul of Anbessa record label
    - interview about rastafari on swiss french speaking national radio station RSR La Première, in the "Un dromadaire sur l'épaule" show
    - third trip to Jamaica
    - interview about reggae on swiss french speaking national radio station RSR La Première, in the "Un dromadaire sur l'épaule" show
    - interview about homophobia in dancehall music in 36oº magazine
    - first reggae articles in 24 Heures, also published in Racines swiss reggae magazine
    - first releases on the label "Foward" by Prince Alla, "Life goes on" by BB Seaton, and "It goes like that" by Dennis Alcapone
    - design of the sleeve of BB Seaton's anthology CD
    - fourth trip to Jamaica
    - conference at Mona University, Kingston : "Reggae music as a bridge between worlds"
    - recording of the second riddim on the label, "Tizita" by the Roots Radics
    - interview in jamaican national radio RJR's show "Beyond the headlines"
    - interview in the Jamaica Observer
    - workshop at the Montreux Jazz Festival : "Roots, rock, reggae : the revolutionnary sound of Jamaica"
    - conference at Zurich Kunsthaus museum about ethiopian music
    - design of the sleeve of BB Seaton's "Ready for the world" LP
    - article in the Jamaica Institute's publication Jamaica Journal "Reggae music as a bridge between worlds"
    - article in the black music magazine Vibrations "King Tubby, l'autre king"
    - release of the final single on the Shuttle riddim, "Why did you go" by Leroy Sibbles, and "La Linea crossing" by Inyaki
    - "Don't play" by Stranger Cole is selected by french music magazine Les Inrocks to represent Kingston in their "Saga Cités : 12 villes de musique" CD

    - fifth trip to Jamaica
    - recording of "Together again", the official Gaylads reunion song
    - first releases on the "Tizita" riddim : "Maybe (one day)" by Prince Alla, and "World Crisis" by the Tamlins
    - live interview from Kingston with Prince Alla, on french radio Prun FM
    - interview on swiss french speaking national radio station RSR La Première, about the heritage of Marley in Switzerland, in the "Radio Paradiso" show
    - interview in the Jamaica Observer, for the International reggae day
    - interview on radio station RSR La Première for the "Face b" show, about Peter Tosh and Buju Banton
    - design of Ras Obi's debut LP "Xterminate hate", released by Soul Beat records
    - official member of the Jamaican association of vintage artists and affiliates (JAVAA)
    - release of "Together again", the first Gaylads song in 40 years, and "anthem" of their historical reunion
    - sixth trip to Jamaica
    - "Together again" is featured in Arte's classic program "Tracks"
    - Release of five cuts on the "Tizita riddim" : Jazzmine Black's "Respect me", Jah Bast and the Tamlins' "My meditation of Him shall be sweet", Danny Culture's "Bloody city", Vernon "Maytone" Buckley's "Why peace take a back seat" and Inyaki's "Tizita mood"
    - Interview in swiss newspaper "Le Temps" : "Jamaïque, une île qui déborde".
    - Release of the first cuts on the new Abeng riddim : Prince Alla "The System", and The Psalms "Revelation time"
    - Interview on french Radio Lazer's "Dance all together" show
    - Interview in italian reggae magazine "La ragga fanza"
    - Release of the second cut of the Abeng riddim : Leroy Brown "Crime is a business"