Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Treasure chest anyone?

It's not often that you discover a CD that resembles a treasure from some long forgotten cave. I stumbled upon one recently though, and it's called The Very Best Of Ethiopiques. A double album on the Mateca label, it contains many a gem from the heyday of Ethiopian music. Now I for one never knew that this poor African country even had a flourishing music scene in the sixties and seventies, let alone that it produced such exciting sounds.

In the years between the end days of emperor Haile Selassie's reign and the emergence of a brutal new regime in the mid seventies, some great stuff was being recorded in the Addis Ababa scene. The diversity of musical styles is striking: some tracks sound more or less as one would expect of 'world music', but you also get funky instrumentals with horns a la The Bar Kays or Junior Walker & The All Stars, soul singers just as inspired as James Brown or Wilson Pickett, and plenty of jazzy stuff to boot... The singing is all in the main Ethiopian language Amharic, so you won't understand a word of it, but that all adds to the mystique. Open Sesame...

Tlahoun Gèssèssè - Tchuhetén Betsèmu MP3
Mulatu Astatqé - Yèkatit MP3
Alèmayèhu Eshèté - Tchero Adari Nègn MP3

1 comment: said...

there were also songs of Mulate Astatqe in the movie "Broken Flowers" and a very nice song of Holly Golighly with the garage vets The Greenhornes, "Tell me now so I know". Tinca