Monday, March 25, 2013

Tesfa-Maryam Kidane - My Life In Music [2005]

                            R  E  U  P  L  O  A  D  

Tesfa Mariam Kidane / Tesfa-Maryam Kidane / Tesfamariam Kidane / Tèsfa-Maryam Kidané

       A well seasoned Eritrean-American artist who has made the Washington D.C. area his home for the last three decades is embarking on a mission. Tesfamariam is one of the pioneer Eritrean saxophonists who had left a musical footprint in the sixties and early seventies at the advent of "modern" music in Asmara and Addis Ababa

       Essentially Tesfamariam was amongst the number of Eritrean artists who were key contributors to the development of modern music in Ethiopia. A league of creative greats such as, Saxophonist/bass guitarist Fekaddu Andemeskel, lead guitarist Tekle Adhanom, lead guitarist/vocalist Tewolde Reda, composer Abubakar Ashaker ( Kbur Zebegna Band), Composer/Teacher Colonel Girmay Abdu (Kbur Zebegna Band), and vocalist & percussionist Tekle Tesfazghi. And later, the Roha band that consisted of mostly Eritrean members lead by the creative and entrepreneurial minded guitarist Selam Seyoum.

       Finally, after several years of self imposed hiatus, Tesfamariam has put a long awaited CD together that chronicles his life in music aptly entitled My Life in Music.

      Tesfamariam's CD stands out in more ways than one. In fact one would be hard-pressed to find another Eritrean "instrumental" album to compare it with. Eritrean musicians produced music in the past daubed "instrumental", by and large nothing considered distinctive or groundbreaking. As far as I can tell none attempted to produce an original composition however mediocre it may have sounded. All were an instrumental version of older songs sang by one vocalist or another.


Jean L. Jenkins - Ethiopie [Musique Traditionelle D'Ethiopie] -[Traditional Music Of Ethiopia] [1967]

                          R E U P L O A D   

Jean L. Jenkins – Ethiopie - Musique Traditionelle

Format:  Vinyl, LP, Album 
Country: France
Released:  1967
Genre:  Folk, World, & Country
Style:  Folk

  Musique Traditionelle D'Ethiopie / Traditional Music Of Ethiopia

A1             La "Harpe De David" / The "Harp Of David"
Vocals, Lyre – Unknown Artist
A2 Office Chretien / Christmas Service
Vocals, Percussion – Unknown Artist
A3 Office Du Sabbat / Sabbath Service
Vocals – Falasha
A4 Priere Quotidienne / Daily Prayers
Vocals – Falasha
A5 Chant D'Amour / Love Song
Vocals – Adaré
A6 Musique De Danse / Dance Music
Vocals, Percussion – Kunama
A7 Solo De Toum / Toum Solo
Mbira [Toum] – Anuak
A8 Ambassel / Ambassel
Vocals, Violin [Masenqo] – Amhara
A9 Foukara / Fukara
Vocals – Amhara

B1 Ensemble De Flutes / Flute Ensemble
Ensemble [Flute] – Gidole
B2 Chilota / Shilota
Vocals, Handclaps – Gidole
B3 Chant De Chamelier / Camel Driver's Song
Vocals – Unknown Artist
B4 Chant De Circoncision / Circumcision Song
Vocals – Unknown Artist
B5 Chant Pour Plaisanter (À Quatre Parties) / Joking Song (Four-Part)
Vocals – Dorzé*
B6 Ouachint / Washint
Flute – Kullo
B7 Musique De Danse / Danse Music
Vocals – Qottu
B8 Chant De Travail / Work Song
Vocals, Percussion – Borana

Credits :
Directed By [Published Under The Direction Of] – G. Rouget
Edited By [Technical Editor] – J. Schwarz
Recorded By, Liner Notes – Jean L. Jenkins

Notes :
Recorded 1964 and 1966 in Ethiopia (Horniman Museum, London) 

Track A1 recorded in Addis Alem 
Track A2 recorded at the Ethipian Christian Church at Lalibela 
Track A3 and A4 recorded in Ambobar 
Track A5 recorded in Adaré, Harar City 
Track A6 recorded in Barentu, Eritrea Prov. 
Track A7 recorded in Gambela 
Track A8 is a classic Amharic Folk song recorded in Dessie 
Track A9 is a Amharic war song recorded in Gondar 
Track B1 and B2 recorded in Gidole, Gemu-Gofa Prov. 
Track B3 recorded in Batié, Aussa (Northern Danakil) 
Track B4 recorded in Gheouani, Adal (Southern Danakil) 
Track B5 recorded in Tchentcha, Gemu-Gofa Prov. 
Track B6 recorded in Bonga, Kaffa Prov. 
Track B7 recorded in Asbe Teferi, Harar Prov. 
Track B8 recorded in Arero, Sidamo Prov.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Aqwaqwam - Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church [2005]

                                         R E U P L O A D   

       Christianity came to Ethiopia in the 4th century and received no outside influence for many years due to its geographic isolation. Its musical and gesture practices thus appear to reflect ancestral Christian rites. The Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church is a Monophysite Church. It considers that Christ has only one nature, the divine nature which absorbs the human nature. It shares these Christological theses with the Coptic Church under whose supervision it remained until 1959. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has been autocephalous since 1959 and is now led by the Patriarch ’Abuna Õawølos.

       Orthodox Christianity is the majority religion in present day Ethiopia, including slightly more than half of the population. Orthodox Christians are found mostly in the north of the country, on the northern high plateaus,the historical heart of Ethiopia. Christianity was introduced via the kingdom of Axum,which corresponds to the northern part ofEthiopia and Eritrea.

       The religious music of the Ethiopian Church is designated by the generic term zemæ. According to legend, Saint Yæred discovered and established zemæ in the 6th century with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Three birds from the Garden of Eden guided Saint Yæred to the heavenly Jerusalem where zemæ was revealed to him. He saw twenty-four priests of Heaven dancing, accompanied by the instrumentsthat the Ethiopian Church still uses today. For Ethiopian Christians, ’aqwaqwam, which is a part of zemæ, is an accurate reproduction of the dance and music of heaven taught to people by Saint Yæred. Saint Yæred is an important saint for Ethiopian priests and cantors.The entire Ethiopian liturgy is sung, in unison, with the exception of the Scriptures,
which are read. The chants are sung in Gueze, a Semitic language from Axum which is now used only in the Ethiopian Christian Church. Three modes are used: gø‘øz (hemitonic pentatonic), ‘øzøl and ‘ÄrÄrÄyø (anhemitonic pentatonic). The formulism on which this music is based brings it homogeneity.

       The liturgical chant of the Ethiopian Church involves long prayers. The pieces are built on the principle of text repetition, often sung very slowly and with rich ornamentation. We must take the time to listen to the pieces all the way through in order to hear the whole text and to follow the development of the chant, which becomes more intense and fervent as it goes on. The ’aqwaqwam principle, pieces of which are presented in these recordings, is above all one of endurance in prayer: ’aqwaqwam means literally “the (right) way to stand”. This word refers to the long services during which the cantors must remain standing. When God is praised using ’aqwaqwam, this is always during important ceremonies where a beautiful and dignified posture is called for, which means standing for the Ethiopians. ’Aqwaqwam, is not so much a dance in the strict sense, but above all an idea of stature in the etymological sense of the word – from the Latin stare, “to stand”. While the movements of ’aqwaqwam can appear as choreographies during which the participants change places, they are often relatively simple and “static”: the cantors move the top halves of their bodies back and forth in a rocking motion, moving their arms from right to left or playing a musical instrument so that it becomes a “dance instrument” while the lower half of the body remains immobile. Beyond its etymology, ’aqwaqwam is a generic term that covers chants accompanied by instruments and movements. The instruments used are the sistrum, the drum and the prayer stick, which provide purely rhythmic accompaniment. Mäqwamøya, or prayer stick, is an Amharic term with the same etymology as the word ’aqwaqwam. It serves as a support for the cantors who remain standing throughout the ceremonies. Holding it is part of the noble appearance sought for the ’aqwaqwam services. It is made of wood with a head of ivory, wood or metal – iron, copper, silver or gold –, which represents, with its horn shapes, the head of a lamb, the symbol of Christ. The overall shape of the mäqwamøya evokes Christ’s Cross. This is the only instrument allowed during Lent. The sistrum, or ñänañøl, has a wood, horn or metal handle topped by a trapezoidal frame made of ornately worked iron, copper, silver or gold. Two thin metal bars horizontally connect the two lateral uprights; they each support metal loops or squares which strike each other and bump against the sides of the trapezoid when the cantors shake the ñänañøl. There are five small metal loops or squares representing the five mysteries of the Ethiopian orthodox religion: the Holy Trinity, the Holy Incarnation, the Holy Baptism, the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Resurrection. Each cantor holds a ñänañøl in his right hand and moves it back and forth. According to some informants, the sound of the ñänañøl symbolizes the sound of the wings of the seraphim and cherubim that Saint Yæred heard in heaven. The symbolism attached to the instruments often seems to be a later interpretation however: the Ethiopians interpret the shape and the sonority of the sistrum from a Christian standpoint, although the instrument existed in Egypt at the time of the pharaohs 

       The kabaro is a membranophone. It is a conical wooden drum with two cowhide membranes. It is wrapped in a cloth covered with strips of cowhide which tie the two membranes together and hold them against the body of the drum. The small membrane is struck with the left hand (bare handed), the large one with the right hand. There are two playing positions: sitting or standing. The number of players varies as a function of the space in the church, the ideal number being two. The ’aqwaqwam is sung during festive services: annual and monthly celebrations and on Sundays. Outside of these occasions, i.e. outside of ’aqwaqwam, the chants are a cappella,
with no movements and no instrumental accompaniment. The cantors (mazamrÄn) take places according to their hierarchy in a space reserved for them within the church, the qøne mæÉølet.

       Only men are allowed to perform the services. They are dressed in white. Some are professionals, others are students of liturgical chanting (see diagram next page). The ’aqwaqwam takes the form of chants that can be antiphons (’angargæri, ’øsma la‘ælam…), poems (malk) or improvised texts (qøne). Depending on the particular celebration, the ’angargæri type antiphon, for example, may have a different text but with formal and musical constants. The musical principle of ’aqwaqwam is as follows: the cantors sing a given text in several successive versions that correspond to the same number of musical categories. The melody, rhythm, instrumental accompaniment and gestures vary from one category to another. While the various versions of a given malk, for example, are related, the links to be found are more those between two identical musical categories from two different malk. There are seven categories: zømame, qum ñänañøl, märägd, óøfat, wäräb, ’amälaläs and ÜäbÜäbo. Not all of the chants are sung in the seven versions, for some there are only two or four… 

       The recordings illustrate each of these categories at least once. ’Aqwaqwam is taught within churches by a master cantor known as märi geta. Each church follows a certain school of chanting, which defines, for certain pieces and certain categories, musical and movement performance elements that distinguish it from other schools. Depending on the church in which the cantor learned ’aqwaqwam, he will perform it in a certain manner, different from that of churches that follow others schools of chanting. There are four different schools of chant: taÜ bet, layø bet, sankwa and täkle. While belonging to a given school of chanting influences the musical execution of a piece, it does not modify the basic principle of ’aqwaqwam, i.e. the successive performance of several musical versions of the same text. The four schools use the same musical categories.
We have indicated below the schools to which the cantors who sing the various pieces belong.