Blogtrotters

Showing posts with label dance music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dance music. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mulatu Astatke / Oscar Sulley - Mulah 2 / Uhuru Mash Up [Nephews of Phela remixes] [2005] FLAC






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A / Mulatu Astatke - Mulah 2
B / Oscar Sulley - Uhuru Mash Up






         Ethiopian Mulatu Astatke's unique blend of jazz, funk and afrobeat has found its way into many peoples record collections recently since the three quality "Ethio Jazz" LPs were reissued on the L'Arome imprint, and further popularised when the "Modern Jazz Instrumentals" record was used as the soundtrack to the Jim Jarmusch film "Broken Flowers". 

        Even before all of that people were unwittingly hearing some of these killer breaks on Mo' Wax era breakbeat and triphop tracks, all this combined should be telling you - this is music of the highest quality!!!And what we've got here is a remix for the dancefloor that's gonna be a monster, an esteemed West London producer has brought the heaviest of broken beats to create an exquisite piece of broken beat Ethio funk fusion. 

         The b-side is an equally strong rework of Ghanian Oscar Sulley's "Bukom Mashie".









Thursday, December 1, 2016

Melaku Belay [ethiopia]











          Melaku Belay is an Ethiopian traditional dancer born in Addis Abeba in 1980. He showed interest in learning the different kind of dances that punctuates the everyday life of Ethiopian people early in life.

         Melaku is above all a free spirit who has refused to restrain himself in an imposed and academic “traditional” style. As a self-taught dancer, he has taken his inspiration inside the Ethiopian society itself, and among the bearers of the tradition. Throughout his career, he has tried to create and develop his own style according to his own experiences and research through his country, with a touch of improvisation and fantasy.

           Melaku is not only a dancer, he is also "a cultural entrepreneur" trying to support and develop the cultural and musical wealth of his country. 

            Since 2008, he is managing one of the most famous Azmari place in Addis Abeba, the Fendika by introducing an innovative idea to his traditional setting. Indeed, during the special events which regularly occur in Fendika, he has invited many guests, from both Ethiopian and foreign spheres, creating a place which offers a symbiosis between tradition and modernity.






Melaku Belay - Sora Sora




        Fendika, a troupe of the most accomplished azmari musicians and dancers from Addis Ababa, draws deeply from the well of Ethiopia’s bardic tradition while adding creative movements and sounds that revitalize their ancient artistic forms. Passionately committed to the preservation and development of traditional culture, group leader and dancer Melaku Belay has established two traditional performing groups – the smaller elite group Fendika and the 12-member Ethiocolor. Fendika features seven performers – two dancers, two singers, and instruments including kebero drums, masenko (a one-stringed bowed fiddle), and krar (a five- or six-stringed lyre). Founded in 2009 by Melaku Belay, Ethiopia’s leading dancer and a respected cultural ambassador, the ensemble is based at Melaku’s renowned music club Fendika Azmari Bet in the Kazanchis neighborhood of Addis Ababa. In Ethiopian culture, an azmari bet is a traditional house of music where people come to be entertained, informed, and sometimes playfully insulted by the azmari who serve as current events commentators while they dance, sing, and play for tips.

     Melaku is a virtuoso interpreter of eskista, a traditional Ethiopian trance dance of athletic shoulder movements that presage hip hop movements of breaking and popping. Now a highly respected cultural ambassador, Melaku grew up as a street kid, learning many regional dances of Ethiopia through participation in religious festivals such as Timqat, folk ceremonies, and everyday activities in Addis Ababa and the countryside where music and dance are a vital part of cultural and spiritual expression. Melaku has traveled throughout Ethiopia to learn the dance traditions of the country’s 80 tribal groups. The musicians and dancers of Fendika present a cultural journey starting in the highlands of Tigray, Wollo, Gonder, and Gojam, also including dances from the Somali and Afar regions and southern Ethiopian dance forms from the Gurage, Wolaita, and Konso traditions.








In 2011 Melaku won the Alliance Ethio-Francaise (Addis Ababa) award for dance excellence. On May 5 2015 he was named as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres , in recognition of his exceptional artistic career, by the French Ministry of Culture and Communications - an extremely prestigious honor.





       Melaku and Fendika also extend their base of tradition to new areas of musical exploration, developing strong performance partnerships with Ethiopian jazz bands Addis Acoustic Project and the US-based Debo Band, as well as international groups such as Le Baroque Nomade, Ukandanz, Akalé Wubé, Arat Kilo, and especially European punk band The Ex. The group has performed with legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed and begena player Alemu Aga, while Melaku has collaborated with Éthiopiques founder Francis Falceto, Italian singer Saba Anglana, and Italian saxophonist Enzo Favata, among many others. Fendika has appeared in Scandinavia, France, Spain, Mali, Zanzibar, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic; they rocked the Roskilde Festival in Denmark in July 2014, earning a rave review. Members of the group toured the US in 2011, 2012, and 2013 with stops at the Lowell and Richmond Folk Festivals, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, and Kennedy Center as well as Lincoln Center where their performance received great acclaim from the New York Times . Ethiocolor performed as a showcase band at the prestigious Womex Festival in October 2014 and toured Europe twice during 2015 with The Ex, returning to Germany and Scandinavia in August 2015. Melaku traveled to Italy to perform at a fundraising concert for a school in Addis. Fendika/Ethiocolor performed in Israel for the Jerusalem Sacred Music festival in September 2015. The group was a highlight at globalFEST, the premier world music showcase in New York, on January 17, 2016.

                 Fendika has compiled two CDs of their music: Addis Tradition (2013) and Ethiocolor, the 2014 disc produced by Selam Sounds. The video Ethiocolor 360◦ was selected as one of the top 15 of 2015 by OkayAfrica.

            Fendika performances run from 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on the venue requirements. Their show builds in sonic and dance intensity, often culminating in an exciting interaction as Fendika members join the audience to invite dance participation. Fendika workshops (usually one hour) engage students of all ages in learning and experiencing Ethiopian rhythms and movements.

                Fendika is deeply committed to engagement and interaction between audience and performer. They love to offer workshops for all ages before or after performances, to teach their dance steps, musical notes, rhythms, and the history and background of Ethiopian traditional music and dance. Fendika has experience from the folk festivals of the US and in educational programs in France in participating in “World Sounds” or “World Dance” workshops on stage, featuring musicians from several cultures who demonstrate their art and then exchange and collaborate resulting in a group performance on stage. They are also very skilled at participating in panel discussions on topics such as the role of tradition in contemporary culture, also inviting questions and observations from the audience.









Melaku Belay, dance 
Zinash Tsegaye, dance 
Mesalu Abebaye, kebero drums 
Fasika Hailu, krar 
Nardos Tesfaw, vocals 
Tesfaye Taye, vocals 
Gizachew Teklemariam, masenko






Melaku's Fendika - Ambassel (7:40)
EthioColor - Fendika Recordings (5:21)
Melaku's Fendika - Lewoy Lewoy (Wollo) (5:09)
EthioColor - Fendika Recordings (4:49)
Melaku Belay - Mali Malonayie (5:26)
Melaku Belay - Sekota (3:52)
EthioColor - Fendika Recordings (5:28)
Melaku's Fendika - Ywolalia Weyole (Gurage) (5:11)







"The rhythmic virtuosity of Melaku was often astounding. He can turn either the upper or lower body into an electrifying vehicle of rapid pulsation...Simply to see him sway his body to the music was a marvel: the angle of his out-held elbows, the pliancy of his spine, the rhythmic point of those shoulders all made their sensuous contributions. A happily superlative artist." 

Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, 8/12/2011




Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Gigi [2001] [ethiopia]





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        Ejigayehu Shibabaw, known by her stage name Gigi, is one of the most successful contemporary Ethiopian singers worldwide. She has brought the music of Ethiopia to wider recognition and developed it in combination with a wide variety of other genres often in collaboration with her husband Bill Laswell, a bassist and producer.


       Gigi was born and raised in Chagni in northwestern Ethiopia. She has described learning traditional songs from an Ethiopian Orthodox priest in the family home. She lived in Kenya for a few years before moving to San Francisco in about 1998.

       Gigi recorded two albums for the expatriate Ethiopian community, but it was her 2001 album, titled simply Gigi, that brought her widespread attention. She had been noticed by Palm Pictures owner Chris Blackwell, who had years earlier introduced reggae to the mainstream through his former label, Island Records. Blackwell and Gigi's producer (and later, husband) Bill Laswell, decided to use American jazz musicians (including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Pharoah Sanders, and others) to accompany Gigi on the album.

      The result was a fusion of contemporary and traditional sounds. The album was a critical success internationally and generated controversy in her home country for such a radical break with Ethiopian popular music. This release was soon followed by Illuminated Audio, an ambient dub style remix of the album by Laswell.

      2003 saw the release of Zion Roots, under the band name Abyssinia Infinite. Bill Laswell played guitar and keyboard (instead of his usual bass), and several of Gigi's family members contributed vocals. The album was a return to a mainly acoustic sound for Gigi, incorporating instruments such as the krar and the tabla. The track "Gole" is in Agaw, the language of Gigi's father's village.


    Gigi is married to her producer Bill Laswell, and they have a son, Aman, who has accompanied his parents with vocals. Her younger sister, singer Tigist Shibabaw, died under unknown circumstances in 2008.






Gigi - Gud Fella





Gigi - Vocals
Bill Laswell - Producer, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards
Abonesh Adenew, Dawit Melesse, Hebest Tirunehe, Imani Uzuri, Mizanekristos Yohannes, Tigist Shibabaw - Backing Vocals
Thomas Gobena - Bass
Hamid Drake, Mikias Abebayehu - Drums, Percussion
Karsh Kale - Drums, Tabla, Keyboards
Mark Taylor - French Horn
David Gilmore, Nicky Skopelitis, Zakki Jewad - Guitar
Abegasu Shiota, Amina Claudine Myers, Dereje Mekonnen, Herbie Hancock - Keyboards
Abdou M'Boup, Aiyb Dieng, Melaku Gelaw, Setegne Satenaw - Percussion
Henry Threadgill, Pharoah Sanders, Wayne Shorter - Saxophone
Art Baron - Trombone- Accordion






01. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Gud Fella (5:35)
02. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Mengeoegna (5:33)
03. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Tew Ante Sew (4:20)
04. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Abay (5:18)
05. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Bale Washintu (5:35)
06. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Guramayle (4:27)
07. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Sew Argen (5:16)
08. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Aynama (5:05)
09. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Kahn (3:47)
10. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Zomaye (4:00)
11. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Abet Wubet (4:07)
12. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Nafeken (5:23)
13. Ejigayehu 'Gigi' Shibabaw - Adwa (5:02)




Thursday, July 21, 2016

Techome Wolde - Ethiopian Soul Revue [1998] [ethiopia]









         A soul singer in the style of Mahmoud Ahmed, Teschome (or Teshome) Wolde first found success in the mid-70s with a series of acclaimed performances at the City Hall Theatre in Addis Ababa. In 1981 he released his first cassette in Ethiopia and he has subsequently released eight more for the local market. He has performed throughout Ethiopia and in neighbouring countries including Djibouti and Saudi Arabia. He has also toured in Europe and the USA. 

         His debut CD, The Ethiopian Soul Revue, was recorded at a concert at the Rocket Hall in London in 1994, with backing supplied by the Ethio Stars. Released four years later it features a mixture of high-energy dance tunes and soulful ballads and resembles an intense North African version of the Memphis Soul Reviews of the 60s.





Teshome Wolde - Yeshewa Alemena





Techome Wolde - 01. - Wey Fikir (4:54)
Techome Wolde - 02. - Leba Negn Leba (7:59)
Techome Wolde - 03. - Sema Eda Aegebachign (4:13)
Techome Wolde - 04. - Yeweray Semelie (2:25)
Techome Wolde - 05. - Al Metam Qerehughne (6:20)
Techome Wolde - 06. - Liebo Ney (5:32)
Techome Wolde - 07. - Megebema Moltwal (2:31)
Techome Wolde - 08. - Aweyo (4:14)
Techome Wolde - 09. - Yematbela Wef (5:25)
Techome Wolde - 10. - Nanu Nanu Ney (5:08)
Techome Wolde - 11. - Yehagerie Lidge Bale Gamie (6:43)
Techome Wolde - 12. - Eweyu Lielawo (3:06)



Saturday, June 18, 2016

Netsanet Melesse - Liben [2013] [ethiopia]













Netsanet Melesse - Liben





Netsanet Melesse - 01 - Atidewulilign (5:20)
Netsanet Melesse - 02 - Karamelaye (5:11)
Netsanet Melesse - 03 - Fikre Belegn (6:14)
Netsanet Melesse - 04 - Feker (4:45)
Netsanet Melesse - 05 - Laferede Ayemachem (4:24)
Netsanet Melesse - 06 - Nega Lelaqane (4:37)
Netsanet Melesse - 07 - Shamasari (5:11)
Netsanet Melesse - 08 - Eruqe (5:06)
Netsanet Melesse - 09 - Lela Lela (5:49)
Netsanet Melesse - 10 - Amata Meherate (5:15)
Netsanet Melesse - 11 - Liben (5:57)
Netsanet Melesse - 12 - Mushirit Ethiopia (5:03)
Netsanet Melesse - 13 - Amoniale (4:22)
Netsanet Melesse - 14 - Tamane Eneji (4:55)
Netsanet Melesse - 15 - Bay Bay (6:09)


Thursday, May 5, 2016

v.a. - Nahom Favorite, Vol. 18 - Eskista [2008] [ethiopia]










       Eskista is a traditional Ethiopian dance performed by both men and women that is known for its unique emphasis on intense shoulder movement. The dance is characterized by rolling the shoulder blades, bouncing the shoulders, and jilting the chest. 


      Eskista is typically performed to traditional Ethiopian music, but can often be incorporated into modern forms of music such as is played in modern Ethiopian music videos. The complex nature of eskista makes it one of the most highly technical forms of traditional dance.





Traditional Ethiopian Dance - Eskista 





Chalachew Ashenafie - 01 - Yeabay Dar Amora (6:40)
Amanuel Mengiste - 02 - Gojam (5:00)
Meharie Degefaw - 03 - Yenie Kifu Aywetashe (5:13)
Neshanet Ayele - 04 - Hobel (5:15)
Alemayehu Herepo - 05 - Nishit (7:06)
Abebe Fekadu - 06 - Suger Daddy (6:13)
Amanuel Mengiste - 07 - Aba Tatek (4:10)
Neshanet Ayele - 08 - Ytawej Beyfa (5:27)
Fasiel Demoz - 09 - Ahoho Belulet (6:35)
Neshanet Ayele - 10 - Labejaj Bietin (6:17)
Habitemichel Demissie - 11 - Washintu (6:33)
Damtew Ayele - 12 - Anetatreh Mita (7:06)



Saturday, April 30, 2016

Invisible System - Street Clan [2011] [eng]




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Invisible System - Street Clan




       Invisible System return with another highly original eclectic fusion album. Following their internationally acclaimed and Songlines World Music Awards Best Newcomer Nominated CD Punt (Made in Ethiopia), Street Clan is named after some graffiti Dan Harper found in Mali, West Africa. It is again not a pure world music album. It covers genres such as rock, dance, drum and bass, dub, reggae, Ethiopian, post-punk, kraut rock, pop, psychedelia and even this time r'n'b and dubstep.

      17 tracks take you through a real journey of shockingly original pulsating sounds that tie to Punt but sound more accomplished and distinctive in style. The album was again recorded between Ethiopia, Mali and the UK whilst Dan Harper was aid working, with the mixing finished in country. Many known guests again feature on this album including Portishead's Adrian Utley and Skip McDonald (African Head Charge, The Sugar Hill Gang, Tackhead and Little Axe.








          It’s impossible not to admire Dan Harper. Until five years ago, he was an aid worker in Ethiopia, where he not only became fascinated by the country’s remarkable music scene but built his own studio in Addis Ababa and managed to persuade leading local artists to record with him. He also invited producer and bassist Nick Page, also known as Count Dubulah, out to Ethiopia and introduced him to his musical friends; as a result, Page formed his highly successful Ethiopian fusion band Dub Colossus.

     Once he returned to England, where he now works as an unconventional music teacher in the West Country, Harper continued work on a fusion project of his own. He persuaded an impressive selection of British musicians to add their contributions to his Ethiopian recordings, and the result was the album Punt, credited to a band Harper called Invisible System. It included a remarkable cast, from the legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed through to punk hero Captain Sensible, guitarist Justin Adams and Count Dubulah; the results veered from African styles to psychedelic rock, trip-hop and dub. Although this was originally something of an obscure DIY release, Harper managed to bring his work to national attention, and won impressive reviews.

        Since then, the two Ethiopian fusion experiments have continued. Dub Colossus, now a rousing live band rather than merely a studio project, have a new album of Ethio-jazz and reggae fusions, Addis Through the Looking Glass, while Invisible System have a very different second set, Street Clan.

         Once again, the album is based around recordings that Harper made in Africa – this time in Mali as well as Ethiopia – to which he adds his own guitar, bass, synth programming, percussion and production work. Then there are contributions from a new set of Western musicians, including the great American guitarist Skip McDonald, Adrian Utley (Portishead), Stuart Fisher (who has worked with Courtney Love), and members of psychedelic hippie heroes Ozric Tentacles. Then there’s Jamaican singer Dennis Wint, who Harper met in the Somerset town of Frome, where he lives and works.

        Street Clan is even more wild, frantic and unexpected than Punt, with sections that work brilliantly and tracks where Ethiopian vocals are surrounded by a blitz of thrash guitar and percussion, results ranging from exhilarating to messy. The best tracks come towards the end, where the emphasis shifts from the clash of African vocals with full-tilt Western guitars, through to more conventional dub reggae. There’s still an African edge to Teenage Lion and Broken Heart, thanks to the vocal work from Zewditu Tadesse; but Wint dominates the songs with an energy and style that makes him sound like an unlikely male answer to early Patti Smith.

      There's a huge sea change between Invisible System's debut and this sophomore outing. Where the first was definitely based around Ethiopian music, this is a much more amorphous and adventurous beast. If it needs to be defined, it's a rock -- maybe even post-rock -- album. Ethiopia is still there, and some of the music was recorded in Addis Ababa. But many of the sounds were made in England using a truly staggering range of musicians, and there's a powerful Jamaican influence at work here, too. If you need an analogy, think of the work of Adrian Sherwood, or even some PiL (in fact, "Mutant Miners" sounds like it could be have been smuggled off some fantastical PiL album). This is world music in the sense that it was made by people from different parts of the globe coming together, but its roots are in the here and now rather than in any tradition. It's challenging, adventurous, and heavily textured; the tracks were recorded live and later chopped up and mixed, although you'd never notice the joints. It might prove to be one of the finds of 2011, a real sonic adventure that speaks highly of Dan Harper, the man behind it all.

review by Chris Nickson





01 Tizita (feat. Portishead Adrian Utley, Ethiopiques)                                                       4:01  
02 Ambassel (feat. Mimi + band (after signed as Dub Colossus also))                          5:25
03 Zedanmer (feat. Eat Static, Ethiopiques)                                                       4:38
04 Bone Flaps (feat. Merv Pepler and Los Mutartis + Ethiopiques)                                3:51
05 Backyard (feat. Skip McDonald (On U Sound, LIttle Axe, Sugar Hill Gang), Dennis… 4:47
06 Skunk Funk (feat. The Ullulators)                                                                                     4:30
07 Opidervtu (feat. Eat Static, Ethiopiques)                                                                       4:26
08 Womens Love (feat. Ozric Tentacles, Rythmites, Ethiopiques, Sydney Salmon)   6:15
09 Mutant Miners (feat. Merv Pepler, Los Mutartis, Ethiopiques)               6:08
10 Live Up To Love (feat. Hilaire Chabby (Baba Maal), Dennis Wint, Ethiopiques)     3:15
11 Men Dont Cry (feat. Eat Static, Dennis Wint, Ethiopqiues)                                       2:46
12 Oumabetty (feat. Jonny / Akrilu (Mamoud Ahmed))                                                   3:13
13 Teenage Lion (feat. Ryhthmites Flash, Ethiopques,)                                               6:08
14 Broken Heart (feat. Dennis Wint, Leyikun Ethiopia)                                               3:33
15 Katabo (feat. Merv Pepler, Dennis Wint)                                                               3:45
16 Naturalisation (feat. Dennis Wint, Joie Hinton)                                                       7:57
17 Rapture (feat. Merv Pepler, Dennis Wint)                                                               3:20





Monday, December 7, 2015

Layne Tadesse - Everybody Get Up [EP] [2012] [eritrea+usa]











        Layne was born in Eritrea, located in East Africa just North of Ethiopia near the Red Sea to Neghesty Kiros and Tadesse Iassu, Layne Tadesse is no stranger to war and a desire for freedom. On his debut album a song titled “NEGESHAY” is a tribute to his mother who passed away. In Tigrinya, the African language that is LT’S native tongue, the meaning of his mothers name is Queen, and LT refers to Neghesty as the “Queen of all Queens”.

        With war between Eritrea and Ethiopia beginning shortly after Layne was born, his mother and father fled to Sudan and lived in a refugee camp for three and half years. During that time Layne was able to learn Arabic and the study of Quran religion. Shortly after that Layne, and all his siblings and parents were picked to go to America. Three days prior to flying to America Layne’s older brother Dawit decided to go back to Eritrea and joined the Armed struggle EPLF to fight the Ethiopian communist army. Without his brother Layne along with his siblings and parents landed in Philadelphia and lived there for four years before moving to Southern California. With a diploma from Colton High School and an associate degree from Chaffey Collage. Layne is a positive example turning adversity into opportunity and credits his family for his early musical interests. He grew up around many musicians and most of them family members.

         Throughout High school and collage Layne performed in plays and competed in talent shows and came across many genres of music. First group he was a member of was called Black Fugitives. Black Fugitives were a mixture of Hip-Hop and R&B. However, because he was introduced to Reggae by his family at an early age Layne soon recognized his true calling in music . By taking a piece of his experience with other genres, Layne has created a unique sound that touches the masses. Traditionally it has been a type of music suited for adults only. Many of his loyal fans believed Layne has reinvented Reggae by helping this genre of music cross the barriers that separates our youth and adults.





Layne Tadesse - Ghetto Corner



      Versatile, multitalented, flexible, diverse, are just a few words to describe Layne as an artist and a person. If you have not yet seen one of his live performance then you have missed something great. As a live performer, Layne’s presence is electric, from his trademark Acappella Intros to the last note of the show, he keeps the eyes and ears of the audience glued to the stage. Now with a loyal and always growing fan base, Layne Tadesse plans to spread positive vibes and souls stirring music to the rest of the world.




Layne Tadesse - 01 - Fly Away (3:48)
Layne Tadesse - 02 - Dance (3:49)
Layne Tadesse - 03 - The Best of Me (4:05)
Layne Tadesse - 04 - Dance Floor (4:21)
Layne Tadesse - 05 - Fly Away (DJ Spair Remix) (3:42)
Layne Tadesse - 06 - Dance Floor (DJ Mutt Aka Dr Klaw Remix) (3:08)




Friday, November 6, 2015

v.a. - Eskesta [2003] [ethiopia]



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        The Ethiopian term “Eskesta” means “Dancing shoulders.”  It is often practiced in the Northern parts of Ethiopia (Amhara group) where the indigenous tribes of Amhara, Wollo, Gondar etc. are still performing the dance of Eskesta. The motives and characteristics of the dance are often interchanged during the dance by the performers of the variety of war songs, hunting songs, Shepherd songs, love songs and work songs. The best dancer is appointed to the leader of the group and respectively the best singer.

      The eskesta dance transmits ideas, religious beliefs, historical events, ancient stories, emotions, thoughts, through a ritual of shoulder dancing and body movements performed on a certain musical background. One of the main dance motives and movements that are implemented in the ritual of performing of Eskesta are as follows: the Shepherd and his herd, religious commitment and praying (Coptic dance, Jewish roots) and as a matter of meditation.






Ethiopia Eskesta - Jaivah African Dance




       The extraordinary diversity of dances is a result of different cultures and people, often organized horizontally (grouped in space) in comparison to the European people who are vertically stratified. According to some analysis, the Ethiopian dances are not divided according to their function, but according to their uniqueness and individuality. Therefore, there are over 150 unique dance movements across Ethiopia and its regions.







       The theme of Eskesta can be described as follows – expressing certain emotions and impressions from the life through a typical body movement dating back to an Ethiopian tribe (Amhara region), performing these mainly with their heads and shoulders. These significant movements are having a great impact on the Ethiopian indigenous society as a whole. Some of the ideas and themes in this dance are actually inspired from the relations between the genders, work life and religion.

        It also is said that this dance was invented because of the snakes. Ethiopian people were often observing the “dance”/movements of the snake, shaking in the same way their neck. On the other hand, in the sphere of indigenous Ethiopian music the influence of the rattlesnake while shaking its tail (the sound it produces) has created a certain way of singing as well.

       Furthermore, other symbols and rituals that can be described are these connected with the costumes which each dancer wears. They are often made of woven cotton called “gabbi” or “netella” and painted with different colors depending on the gender of the dancer.

        Eskesta is a dance performed both from men and women with their head, neck, chest and shoulders, shaking in specific ways; the music played during the dance is often produced with the traditional Ethiopian instruments like krar, flute, drums and mesenko. The dancers sometimes sing or in some places of the dance utilize the silence in order to stress out some prevailing moments of the dance. There are however some variations depending on the areas in which this dance is performed – Wollo, Gondar or Gojjam.

           Historical context – Ethiopia is a widely diverse country with over 80 unique rich ethnic, cultural, custom and linguistic groups. One of the most significant areas in Ethiopian culture from which actually the other spheres developed further is the literature, representing Hebrew and Greek religious texts into the ancient Ge’ez, modern Amharic and Tigringa languages. This cultural heritage shaped some of the Ethiopian dance motives. However, the unique step and rhythm creates a certain motive of “mosaic culture”.

           Similar dances can be found in Western Africa, where indigenous dances are performed with head (with sort of tie on it) and arms, especially in the tribe of Conakry, Guinea.

          The dance Eskesta brings the dancer into a certain role of history and story-teller, who actually expresses and draws with his/her body the cultural traditions and life. The dance, as well the music and singing are serving as symbolical messages and influences on the Ethiopian society.

    Interpretation ethics – while enjoying the Eskesta dance accompanied by the music one can truly start travelling back in the time. These music and dances are dating 3000 years back in the African history – so unique and undiscovered from us, the Europeans. In this context, one can think of the religious variety implemented in the dances and music in Ethiopia as a whole – Orthodox Christian and Muslim motives playing the role of shaping the culture and traditions of this nation.

        Eskesta is very interesting to be observed – dancing in the beautiful Ethiopian nature, within the herds of animals making Eskesta an very expressive type of dance. Eskesta itself is providing positive emotions to the public and in the same time creating deeply spiritual atmosphere in which the observer cannot find his/herself easily. Namely this cultural confusion serves as the one that hinders us exploring the dance fully. Ethiopian dance is not something we, the Europeans can understand. Behind the apparent body shaking there are situated deeply cultural and hereditary connotations.




01 - Minale Dagnew - Hodye (5:14)
02 - Admasu Wube - Erikum (6:06)
03 - Tesfaye Workneh - Wubet (10:17)
04 - Taddesse Alemu - Gondar (9:05)
05 - Genet Masresha - Shebel (7:30)
06 - Taddesse Alemu - Minjar (5:20)
07 - Yeshimebet Dubale - Gojjam (8:03)
08 - Hayleyesus Girma - Gedame (7:18)