Zvuloon Dub System, featuring Gili Yalo, bottom row (center), and Yaakov Lilay, top row (far left).(Noam Chojnowski)

When Gili Yalo was 4 years old, he discovered that he loved to sing. It was in 1984, during a two-month trek through the desert on the first leg of a long journey from Ethiopia to Israel, where his parents believed life would be better for them.

Thirty years later, Yalo is still singing, now with Zvuloon Dub System and in a musical style that encompasses the different aspects of his life—immigrant, Israeli, Jew. Based in Tel Aviv, Zvuloon Dub System plays an irresistible blend of roots reggae and classical Ethiopian pop. They are now touring the United States to celebrate the release of their new album, Anbessa Dub. Independent producer Ann Heppermann recently met up with Yalo and Yaacov Lilay, another member of the band, and sent us this dispatch.


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