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Showing posts with label [begenna]. Show all posts
Showing posts with label [begenna]. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Alemu Aga - Ethiopia [Three Chordophone Traditions] [1972]

          





   R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D   



Alemu Aga, begenna master..









       Born in 1950 in Entoto, near Addis Ababa, Alemu Aga has played the Ethiopian traditional lyre begenna since he was 12, having been trained by a famous master, Aleqa Tessama Wolde-Ammanuel, who was his neighbour and teacher at his school.











       Graduated from the Addis Ababa University (in geography), he taught the begenna at the Yared Music School until 1980. He now teaches on a voluntary basis and focuses on his researches about the begenna.

       He has published numerous audiotapes and several CD's and appeared in concert worldwide. Nowadays, Alemu Aga is the most highly respected Begenna player of Ethiopia.











01   Selamta   [The Creation]   2:52
02   Fäbälähala   [The Creation]     2:40
03   ABBA Gran Motä   (Death of the Left-Handed)   5:30
04   Mädägäna Zäläsana Bätbaze   (About the Futility of Life)   4:31
05   Instrumental Melody   1:47
06   Tälafino Gomdär   3:52
07   Tene Eko   (I Am Yours and You are mine)   5:59
08   Ambasel   6:20
09   Seläla   (War Song)   3:56
10   Gämay Eney   (Come Little Girl and Chat with Me)   4:25
11   Wayä Luleho   5:03
12   Samni   (Kiss Me)   5:17



Ehul Saged - Mezmur & Bägäna [ethiopia]




   R  E  U  P  L  O  A  D   











           Mezmur are the religious songs of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Mezmur is the Amharic term for music, although it often has a religious connotation. Other religious groups also use the term, which is in contrast with zafan, or secular music.

             The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian churches in Africa, and it dates to pre-colonial times. As of 2015, it has between 40 and 45 million members. It has also spread outside Ethiopia, with many branches in the United States and other countries where Ethiopian immigrants have settled.









                                                                                        Mirtnesh
Tewahedo orthodox mezmur





        It has a rich musical tradition, referred to as mezmur. Mezmur plays an important part in church services, including a detailed liturgy divided into two parts and 14 sub-parts known as anaphoras. These fixed songs undergo few changes.

           Mezmur can also refer to hymns, which are more innovative, and the church continues to accept and use new hymns. These are more free-form songs of praise. Many Ethiopians take great pride in their music and strive to create beautiful songs as a sign of devotion.


      Mezmur is not purely Ethiopian Orthodox. It can refer to any religious song. The P'ent'ay, or Ethiopian protestants, also use the term mezmur. The P'ent'ay can include Pentecostals, Baptists, Mennonites and many others.


   





                 O Goyta Selam

Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Mezmur 





      The begena is an Ethiopian or Eritrean string instrument with ten strings belonging to the family of the lyre. According to oral tradition, Menelik I brought the instrument to the region from Israel, where David played on it to soothe King Saul's nerves and heal him of insomnia. Its actual origin remains in doubt, though local manuscripts depict the instrument at the beginning of the 15th century (Kimberlin 1978: 13).


     

   Known as the instrument of noblemen, monks and the upper class and performed by both men and women, the begena was used primarily as an accompaniment during meditation and prayer. Though commonly played in the home, it is sometimes played in the framework of festive occasions. During Lent, the instrument is often heard on the radio and around churches. Begena is accompanied by singing voice only. The singer may compose his or her own texts or they may be taken from the Bible, from the Book of Proverbs, or from the Book of Qine, an anthology of proverbs and love poems. Subject matter includes the futility of life, the inevitability of death, saints, mores, morality, prayer, and praises to God. The song's duration varies according to the text, the audience, and the persistence of the player. Though many texts are of a religious nature, the instrument is not used in the Ethiopian Orthodox church services, even if it is seen occasionally in religious processions outside the church.


      Because of the instrument's relatively intimate and sacred role in society, the begena is not common to find. Meditation and prayer are very private, personal endeavors, and hearsay suggests that the instrument is played by very few and is a dying art. However, in 1972, the Yared Music School in Addis Ababa began formal instruction in the begena. Since 2004, evening courses are organized and the begena is still played.








     The begena has ten strings. However, different musicians use varying numbers of strings to play the begena. For example, begena teacher Memhr Sisay Demissae uses all ten strings to play the begena, while other players may use five or six of the strings. The left hand is used to pluck the strings.

         When all ten strings are plucked, one method of tuning the begena is to tune each pair of strings to one of the pitches in a pentatonic scale. When using five of the stings, only the first, fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth strings are tuned and plucked to give sound. Finally, while playing the begena using six strings, the left hand plucks strings one, three, four, six, eight, and ten (starting from the left side when facing the instrument). The pointing finger plucks strings three and four while the other fingers are in charge of controlling one string each. The remaining strings are used for the finger rests or stops after the strings have been plucked, allowing the plucked string to vibrate.

         The begena may also be played using a system called girf, wherein a plectrum made of horn or wood is used to pluck the ten strings of the begena. Megabe Sebhat Alemu Aga plays begena both by using his fingertips and girf.

       The begena is characterized by a very specific buzzing sound, due to U-shaped leather pieces placed between each string and the bridge. The thong for each string is adjusted up or down along the bridge so that the string, when plucked, repeatedly vibrates against the edge of the bridge.






01. Ehul Saged - Mezmur & Bägäna - Track 01 (5:55)
02. Ehul Saged - Mezmur & Bägäna - Track 02 (6:29)
03. Ehul Saged - Mezmur & Bägäna - Track 03 (4:48)
04. Ehul Saged - Mezmur & Bägäna - Track 04 (7:00)
05. Ehul Saged - Mezmur & Bägäna - Track 05 (6:03)
06. Ehul Saged - Mezmur & Bägäna - Track 06 (6:06)
07. Ehul Saged - Mezmur & Bägäna - Track 07 (5:54)
08. Ehul Saged - Mezmur & Bägäna - Track 08 (6:30)
09. Ehul Saged - Mezmur & Bägäna - Track 09 (5:20)
10. Ehul Saged - Mezmur & Bägäna - Track 10 (7:01)




     for more mezmur songs visit        this site      







Monday, July 25, 2016

Temesgen - Ethio-banjo [2007] [ethiopia]




   R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D   







       Temesgen was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He has studied with Alemayehu Fanta and Teshome Shenkute at the Yared School of Music in Addis Ababa. It is Temesgen's dream to keep alive the ancient musical traditions of Ethiopia. He is in the process of setting up a school to teach the Begena and the Krar.






     

        "Listen to the stark, haunting sounds of traditional Ethiopian music and you will be elevated to a place free from worries and strife. The wisdom and knowledge of centuries of culture are communicated by the nimble fingers and resonant voice of Temesgen. Temesgen sings songs of life, of love and of devotion. Deeply spiritual, with the simple truth of folk music, sanded and distilled by generations of musicians, these songs have evolved over the ages to shine with the pristine beauty of the very roots " 

- liner notes from Begena Bedtimes (2006).



 A versatile singer-songwriter, Temesgen has begun to explore the frontiers of ethio-fusion. His non-traditional work is a soulful stew of reggae, ethiopian, and jazz. He is currently working on Begena Fusion, an album that features the begena in a modern milieu. And, Krarization a collection of popular contemporary songs re-interpreted with the help of the krar. Temesgen has also created instructional DVDs on how to play the krar and the begena.










Thursday, May 26, 2016

Temesgen - Begena Fusion [2012] [ethiopia]










              Temesgen was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He has studied with Alemayehu Fanta and Teshome Shenkute at the Yared School of Music in Addis Ababa. It is Temesgen's dream to keep alive the ancient musical traditions of Ethiopia. He is in the process of setting up a school to teach the Begena and the Krar.






Temesgen - Yibellahalla [Begena Fusion]




           A versatile singer-songwriter, Temesgen has begun to explore the frontiers of ethio-fusion. His non-traditional work is a soulful stew of reggae, ethiopian, and jazz. He is currently working on Begena Fusion, an album that features the begena in a modern milieu. And, Krarization a collection of popular contemporary songs re-interpreted with the help of the krar. Temesgen has also created instructional DVDs on how to play the krar and the begena.




Temesgen - 01 - Yibelahalla (3:11)
Temesgen - 02 - Dawit Bebegena (3:27)
Temesgen - 03 - Qiddus (3:48)
Temesgen - 04 - Meserete Zema (3:26)
Temesgen - 05 - Dirdera (5:27)
Temesgen - 06 - Maan Yimeramer (3:35)
Temesgen - 07 - Nu Nu (3:03)
Temesgen - 08 - Alayenim Belu (5:32)
Temesgen - 09 - Haadeego (2:26)
Temesgen - 10 - Abba Gragn (4:09)



Monday, May 9, 2016

Zerfu Demissie - Akotet: Songs of the Begena [2008] [ethiopia]




   R   E   U   P   L   O   A   D   








      In March 2001, Andy (also guitarist in The Ex) and I (Terrie Ex) were in Addis Abeba, checking out possibilities for The Ex to play some concerts in Ethiopia. But also to check out other music. There is so much amazing stuff there. One day, in the middle of the Mercato, we were struck by something that we had never heard before. Out of the street speaker of a little cassette shop, flowed a sound that was dark, heavy and serious, but also light, fragile and spiritual. We couldn't quite pin it down. We knew the great Ethiopiques 11 of Alemu Aga, but this was different. Slightly embarrassed at the fact that the shopkeeper had had to take the cassette out of the machine and that the street was suddenly silent, we bought the tape. It turned out to be Zerfu Demissie







        In March 2004, we organized a series of concerts in Holland called "An Ethiopian music night". The programme consisted of The Ex + Han Bennink, nine of the greatest Azmaris from Addis and Alemu Aga on the begena. Quite a contrasting line-up! In Ethiopia, the Azmaris and Alemu are from completely opposite sides of the musical spectrum. 

     The Azmaris' music is about drinking, politics, sex, dancing, jokes. Playing the begena, on the other hand, is rooted in meditation, concentration and prayer. Deeply devoted to the Orthodox Christian tradition, Alemu was in his fasting period during the tour, which for him meant an even stronger spiritual commitment and no meat and alcohol. He played his songs and right after, The Ex performed. A very different music from a very different background. But when we were finished, Alemu was there standing at the side of the stage, offering us some cold beers. This is not a rigid religion and culture. This is about people.


     We became more and more intrigued by Ethiopian music and culture. We were also intrigued by the begena, an instrument that dates back thousands of years; with its mesmerizing buzzing sound and its special role in the musical, sociological palette. There are the fascinating lyrics, sometimes hundreds of years old and occasionally very contemporary. At times biblical, at other times tapped from different sources. But all including this typical Ethiopian phenomenon known as "Wax 'n' Gold", the subtle poetry with double meaning, which is deciphered as an abstract art form.






     This music is unique to this worid. We had to find out more. August 2006, and we were back in Ethiopia. Jeroen took his mobile studio and Emma her camera. We were hoping to find Zerfu to make a recording with him. And we did find him. He agreed to the project, and a few days later, we recorded him in his empty bedroom at home. Beautiful! Enjoy the sounds within!


Terrie Ex - Wormer, November 2007



01. Zerfu Demissie - Alayenem Belu, Alsemanem Belu (5:42)
02. Zerfu Demissie - Degwawen Kitetut (5:41)
03. Zerfu Demissie - Arb Yetaredewn (8:05)
04. Zerfu Demissie - Ahadu Belo K'idus (8:32)
05. Zerfu Demissie - Arb, Rob, Inegedef (5:10)
06. Zerfu Demissie - Ne'i, Ne'i Kidane Mehret (6:29)
07. Zerfu Demissie - Efoy Ta'ageseke (4:48)
08. Zerfu Demissie - Sek'let (3:27)
09. Zerfu Demissie - Dingelim (4:01)
10. Zerfu Demissie - Esme Ante (2:46)
11. Zerfu Demissie - Godana (7:06)



Saturday, May 9, 2015

v.a. - Ethiopia - Bagana Songs (Éthiopie Les chants de bagana) [2006] [ethiopia]








1

The disc recorded by Stephanie Weisser between March 2002 and December 2005 in Addis Ababa is the fourth CD of traditional Ethiopian music in the backup program intangible heritage of this country, "Ethiopia: Traditional music, dance and instruments , a systematic survey "led by Olivier Tourny. Indeed, following the disk Polyphonies Ari published by Ocora (Fournel 2002) as well as two discs of Unreleased collection of Maale Music (Ferran 2005) and 'aqwaqwam (Damon 2005), Stephanie Weisser shows us one of three famous Ethiopian chordophones the bagana, it has specifically studied in his thesis.




Alemu Aga - "Besmeab - Abatachin Hoy"
 playing the Begenna, the Harp of David from Ethiopia



2

The disc echoes of hope for the revival of the instrument in Ethiopia for the interest of its author for bagana, which was endangered in Addis Ababa, allowed its rehabilitation and the foundation of schools and transmission structures while promoting the creativity of musicians, since all the compositions on this disc are original. It also pays tribute to the greatest performers of Ethiopian bagana, including Tafese Tesfaye (tracks 1 and 2) between deceased time.

3

Recordings that Stephanie Weisser introduces us was collected in Addis Ababa among the performers themselves, which reports to a tour de force in this large African capital where the activity never stops and where is hard to find a silent place. The extensive research that the author has synthesized here illuminates the amateur as professional, who may be interested in the specifics of sound bagana. Indeed, the leaflet, synthetic and clear, in French and English, allows to approach the musical characteristics of bagana songs, their formal structure, rhythm that underlies them, the contents of the texts or vocal techniques specifically associated with these religious songs.

4

The first piece, the listener is swept away by the individual sound bagana, big ten-stringed lyre whose sizzling character is the result of adding leather pieces between the strings and the bridge, but also by the vocal stamp both soft and veiled that seeks to mimic that of the instrument. On this disc tour de force also lies in its ability to make sensitive to both the emotional power of the songs of bagana and intimate character. Indeed, the live performance of songs by Alem Marefia Na'at Alemu Aga (track 9) or of Sebsebo by Yetemwork Mulat (track 8) is very moving. The quality of the recordings and the balance between voice and bagana are very successful and music acts on us as if the interpreter was facing us. This emotional capacity bagana songs is also recognized in Ethiopia, and it contributes to their specificity. Thus, any provision of Alemu Aga brings tears of auditors and participates in a form of collective devotion.



5

The wealth of different facets of bagana songs highlighted in this record gives it a special interest. Indeed, six performers follow one another, with two compositions each, giving a glimpse of their dexterity and their vocal timbres. In addition, two female performers, Gebre Yesus Sosenna and Yetemwork Mulat, highlight the rare successes of women in the interpretation of traditional music Ethiopian, who often remain the prerogative of men.

6

ON also noted the diversity of instrumental timbres, including the difference between the instrument of Tafese Tesfaye (tracks 1 and 2), whose sound box is made entirely of wood, and that of Alemu Aga (tracks 9 and 10), the soundboard is skin.

7

The professional master of Alemu Aga, the most famous master of bagana, known worldwide thanks to the disk 11 of the Ethiopiques collection, is also highlighted in this record because we propose two techniques for game. Exhibit 9 is interpreted bare hand and begins with the traditional invocation before the first song of the provision: "In the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen." Exhibit 10 is against extremely rare since it involves playing with plectrum (megrafia) goat horn. This technique is extremely difficult endangered and only Alemu Aga practice yet. It is therefore interesting to compare the two game modes to capture the virtuosity of mixed game.

8

The variety of musicians playing techniques contributes to the interest of this disc. It may well linger compared virtuosity and technical skill of the masters of the instrument are Tafese Tesfaye, Alemu Aga and with the game slower but still very expressive women (tracks 3, 4, 7 and 8) or even with the strong play of young Abiy Seyoum (track 5 and 6).

9

Enfin, the last piece on this disc gives us an original interpretation since it involves a chorus of two deacons, which is extremely rare for bagana songs which are, as the disk we heard, very intimate. Moreover, this final piece, Manimeramere, has many vocal ornaments similar to those of the Ethiopian Orthodox song or secular pieces of azmari, the troubadours of this country.

10

To his faculties to make us travel to unveil a part of the Amhara imagination to move us and also, in some way, to elevate our soul, this drive is to listen. However, it would have been interesting to see the whole texts in Amharic accompanied by a translation in order to highlight the particular taste of Ethiopians for word games and semantics research. But as we explained Stephanie Weisser, poetic forms of bagana songs are very elaborate and remain impenetrable to the uninitiated and therefore have no place in a disc. Comments are effective and photos and help inform the listener about this fascinating instrument. Be transported by yebagana mezmour (bagana songs) and their ostinati always renewed.









01 - Tafese Tesfaye - Ergebe na Wane (The Dove and the Pigeon) (6:03)
02 - Tafese Tesfaye - Wodadje Wodadje (You Who Take Good Care of Me) (5:59)
03 - Sosenna Gebre Yesus - Adeneyn Kemote (Save Us from Our Death) (6:11)
04 - Sosenna Gebre Yesus - Dengel Sele Esbe (When I Say Your Name) (6:16)
05 - Abiy Seyoum - Deggwa Tsome Deggwa (The Last Judgement) (2:56)
06 - Abiy Seyoum - Nastemaselke (We Are All Mortals) (3:44)
07 - Yetemwork Mulat - Semayi na Meder (Heaven and Earth) (5:45)
08 - Yetemwork Mulat - Sebsebo (The Second Coming of Christ) (4:58)
09 - Alèmu Aga - Alem Marefia Na'at (The World Is But a Place of Survival) (4:42)
10 - Alèmu Aga - Selamta be Megrafia (Song of Praise Played With a Plectrum) (3:51)
11 - Akalu Yossef - Abatatchen Hoy (Our Father) (4:29)
12 - Akalu Yossef - Manimeramere (Who Can Doubt ) (6:35)




Thursday, January 15, 2015

v.a. - Ethio podcast - Begena [2006] [ethiopia]







Alemu Aga - "Besmeab - Abatachin Hoy"
playing the Begenna, the Harp of David from Ethiopia


       The begena (or bèguèna, as in French) is an Eritrean and Ethiopian string instrument with ten strings belonging to the family of the lyre. According to oral tradition, Menelik I brought the instrument to the region from Israel, where David played on it to soothe King Saul's nerves and heal him of insomnia. Its actual origin remains in doubt, though local manuscripts depict the instrument at the beginning of the 15th century (Kimberlin 1978: 13).






      Known as the instrument of noblemen, monks and the upper class and performed by both men and women, the begena was used primarily as an accompaniment during meditation and prayer. Though commonly played in the home, it is sometimes played in the framework of festive occasions. During Lent, the instrument is often heard on the radio and around churches. 

   Begena is accompanied by singing voice only. The singer may compose his or her own texts or they may be taken from the Bible, from the Book of Proverbs, or from the Book of Qine, an anthology of proverbs and love poems. Subject matter includes the futility of life, the inevitability of death, saints, mores, morality, prayer, and praises to God. The song's duration varies according to the text, the audience, and the persistence of the player. Though many texts are of a religious nature, the instrument is not used in the Ethiopian Orthodox church services, even if it is seen occasionally in religious processions outside the church.



     Because of the instrument's relatively intimate and sacred role in society, the begena is not very common to find. Meditation and prayer are very private, personal endeavors, and hearsay suggests that the instrument is played by very few and is a dying art. However, in 1972, the Yared Music School in Addis Ababa began formal instruction in the begena. Since 2004, evening courses are organized and the begena is still played.


    The begena has ten strings. However, different musicians use varying numbers of strings to play the begena. For example, begena teacher Memhr Sisay Demissae uses all ten strings to play the begena, while other players may use five or six of the strings. The left hand is used to pluck the strings.





 When all ten strings are plucked, one method of tuning the begena is to tune each pair of strings to one of the pitches in a pentatonic scale. When using five of the stings, only the first, fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth strings are tuned and plucked to give sound. Finally, while playing the begena using six strings, the left hand plucks strings one, three, four, six, eight, and ten (starting from the left side when facing the instrument). The pointing finger plucks strings three and four while the other fingers are in charge of controlling one string each. The remaining strings are used for the finger rests or stops after the strings have been plucked, allowing the plucked string to vibrate.




          The begena may also be played using a system called girf, wherein a plectrum made of horn or wood is used to pluck the ten strings of the begena. Megabe Sebhat Alemu Aga plays begena both by using his fingertips and girf.


       
      





The begena is characterized by a very specific buzzing sound, due to U-shaped leather pieces placed between each string and the bridge. The thong for each string is adjusted up or down along the bridge so that the string, when plucked, repeatedly vibrates against the edge of the bridge.










01 - unknown - Begena 9 (5:17)
02 - Zerfu Demisie - Tewoledelin (5:23)
03 - Merigeta Fikru Sahelu - Simih Yemesgen (7:34)
04 - Akalu - Bene Tsidk Aydelem (7:11)
05 - Yilma Hailu - Silasie Kesemay (4:14)
06 - Tadiwos Girma - Temesgen (6:05)
07 - Yilam Hailu - Eninesalen (3:55)
08 - Mirtnesh Tilahun - Rehoboth (5:11)
09 - Engidawork Bekele - Alefkugne Dingil (6:00)
10 - Fekadu Amare - Egziabher Hayal New (5:20)


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Petites Planètes - Now Ethiopia • Alemu Aga - Live in Addis Ababa [2012]



Alemu Aga - Live in Addis Ababa [2012]




recorded by Vincent Moon & Jacob Kirkegaard in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, june 2012 

mixed by Jacob Kirkegaard 



1. - The Harp of King David  08:19

2. - The Harp of King Jacob  04:41


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Quantic - Traditional Ethiopian selection by Quantic [2011]







           Quantic is an umbrella name for UK-born, Will Holland : acclaimed producer, musician, and DJ for over 15 years, who’s projects incorporate various influences, from funk & jazz to electronic & folk music, to Latin, reggae, dub and cumbia.  

         He recently put together this mix of rare 45s he found in Ethiopia, calling it ”a mix of folkloric and outer-regional music of Ethiopia, all 45s and some records that I think need to be heard. Less of breaks & wah wah and this time more of krar, claps, howling sounds and organ melodies. For fans of previous mixes Axum to Addis and Addis Sheckla Explosion.”  

        Listen to and download the whole mix by clicking on the link below, and let’s he hope he continues the crate digging!