Saturday, November 26, 2016
Friday, October 7, 2016
Music Of Ethiopia - World Folk
Music Of Ethiopia - A 02 - Harrari Festival (1:58)
Music Of Ethiopia - A 03 - Yefikir Kaitema [an Amhara Symphony] (3:42)
Music Of Ethiopia - A 04 - Hiliawsho (1:52)
Music Of Ethiopia - A 05 - Ahay Lominai [a Love Song from Eritrea] (2:03)
Music Of Ethiopia - A 06 - Denai Belew Belew (2:54)
Music Of Ethiopia - A 07 - Bare Konda [a Concert] (1:19)
Music Of Ethiopia - B 01 - Demamai [a Gojam Love Song] (1:23)
Music Of Ethiopia - B 02 - Addis Ababa Yejanhoy (1:10)
Music Of Ethiopia - B 03 - Tinitina [Tigre Song-Dance] (2:11)
Music Of Ethiopia - B 04 - Gamai (1:19)
Music Of Ethiopia - B 05 - Yambulo [Song-Dance of the Wollamos] (1:15)
Music Of Ethiopia - B 06 - Wollamo Shilela [a Song of Patriotism] (1:09)
Music Of Ethiopia - B 07 - Hileliawsho (1:00)
Music Of Ethiopia - B 08 - Lembo (1:11)
Music Of Ethiopia - B 09 - Imimha [a Chant for Eskista] (0:41)
Music Of Ethiopia - B 09 - Aderegna [a Solo in Falsetto] (1:38)
Monday, October 3, 2016
Charles Sutton is a master of the Ethiopian masinko [one-string fiddle]. Sutton learned to play the instrument when he was a teacher in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia in the 1960s. He was perforing in Addis Ababa with his fellow traditional musicians under the Orchestra Ethiopia band.
Four former members of the group; including Tesfaye Lemma, Getamessay Abebe, Melaku Gelaw and Sutton teamed up to produce a CD, "Zoro Getem" [reunion] and decided to contribute the proceeds from the sales of the CD to the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at the Addis Ababa University.
The group so far has contributed 100, 000 birr. Sutton was born in New York City in 1942 and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He attended Harvard University as a freshman but took a two-year-leave of absence to study music in Washington D.C. and at the Berkeley College of Music in Boston. In 1964, he returned to Harvard and finished his education with a degree in English. He talks about his music and experience in Ethiopia with the VOA Amharic program’s Alula Kebede.
This old Amharic melodic tune, Sheggitu, Assefa Abate’s classic was sung by an American Charles Sutton at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES) last Friday, May 2. It is one of the eleven songs included in a new CD, Zoro Gettem (Reunion), recorded in Washington, DC in September 2006 and premiered here on that night.
The CD that Charles described as ‘a flowering of musical partnership’ was done with his three Ethiopian colleagues Tesfaye Lemma, Getamesay Abebe and Melaku Gelaw of the former Orchestra Ethiopia.
The Orchestra was a prominent performing group from the 1960’ and 70’, financed by the then Haile-Selassie University, later renamed Addis Ababa University. It was based at the Creative Arts Center in the campus. They performed in theaters, hotels like Wabe Shebelle and Hilton, and embassies of Addis Ababa, at parties and weddings, on television, on excursions into the provinces, eventually on tour in the United States.
So how could an American come to be member of the Orchestra?
It all started in 1966 when a fresh-faced young man, straight out of Harvard came to Ethiopia as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Most Americans knew little about the country and this young man wasn’t any different. ”The only thing I knew was that Ethiopia was found in Africa and its leader was the famous Emperor Haile Selassie,” Charles says in an Amharic note that he wrote and included in the CD.
Here he started teaching freshman English to science and engineering students at the Arat Kilo campus.
“That is where I saw a poster announcing a concert by Orchestra Ethiopia. I was an amateur musician. At that time, I played the guitar, piano.” he recalls. Ethiopian music instruments started to enthrall him. Tesfaye Lemma, Director of the Orchestra, introduced him to some the musicians. He soon started learning the Mesenko for his own amusement. “I was taking lessons in Amharic form Lemma Taddese, a quick-witted and personable eleventh-grader at Menelik School. Getamesay already a famous master of the instrument was teaching me the mesnko,’’ he recalls.
Learned he did, with a courage and great gusto.
Before he knew it, he was on the bill to sing and play with Orchestra Ethiopia in a program of traditional music at the Creative Art Center. An adventure that continued for four years. A proud shemma wearer Fernji singing in Amahric boosted the band’s appeal, Getamesay Abbebe recalled on that night.
Long after the band disbanded and the members gone their separate ways, an incident in the summer of 2006 in the US brought them together. Charles concluded five years of Peace Corpse service in 1971 and settled in Connecticut, where he has worked a s a jazz pianist ever since. Tesfaye who was granted asylum in the US in 1987 was living in Washington, after retiring from the Center for Ethiopian Arts and Culture that he founded because of ill health.
Getamesay, after completing an illustrious thirty-six-year career at the Hager Fikir Theater in Addis and overcoming a life-threatening illness, traveled to the U.S. in the summer of 2006 to participate in his son’s weeding. Melaku Gelaw, a faculty member of the Yared Music School for nearly thirty years, immigrated with his family in 1997 and took up residence in Virginia.
Reuniting was a joy but it also sparked an idea to make a new CD with a number of old and new songs. The result was a very beautifully done and packed CD, Zoro Gettem (Reunion). The pieces are a soothing mixture of mesenko, washint, krar, ranging in mood upbeat and playful to somber and teary. The orchestral arrangements are alternately forceful and creepy, moody and tender.
And more importantly they have come here to honor the place where they have met.
Charles on that night sang two songs from the CD, Sheggitu and Yazare Sammint. His mastery of the Amharic language is unexpected delight. He has warm and deep sound that communicated tenderness, sorrow and admiration throughout the hall. The crowd filled to capacity was in constant motion and sway. The occasion must have brought the audience lots of nostalgia and reminiscence to those good old and innocent days. It was like the group had never gone away. The 70’s were brought back in a new and improved ways. The old songs were rehabilitated and restored to grandeur. And they sounded better than ever.
Plus, the sale from the CD is all going be given to the IES to support its activities and the library it going to build. Charles said they have already sold 9,000 dollars worth in different places in Dallas, Washington and it is being distributed all over the United States wherever the Ethiopian community is found.
This is a must have album for anyone interested in Ethiopian music and a great introduction for those who wish to learn and support a cause. Their reward was not money or fame; it was integrity, purity, friendship and honoring their pledge.
The big complaint listeners will have with CD is that it is so short but a note in the CD made it clear a compilation of the music of the Orchestra Ethiopia, complete with extensive historical documentation and dozens of handsome photographs, is available on compact disc as Number 23 of the Ethiopiques series published by Buda Musique.
Related story from Sites
Orchestra Ethiopia Endegena-Amharic Reporter
Charles Sutton - 01 - Minew Teleyesghign (4:55)
Charles Sutton - 02 - Shemonmwana (4:16)
Charles Sutton - 03 - Messenko (4:11)
Charles Sutton - 04 - Mikir Filega (3:25)
Charles Sutton - 05 - Ambassel & Eyew Demamu (3:21)
Charles Sutton - 06 - Shegitu (4:39)
Charles Sutton - 07 - Tizita (3:54)
Charles Sutton - 08 - Manew (4:04)
Charles Sutton - 09 - Endegena (4:14)
Charles Sutton - 10 - Yezare Samint (3:12)
Friday, September 30, 2016
Orchestra Ethiopia was an Ethiopian performing group formed in 1963 by the Egyptian-born American composer and ethnomusicologist Halim El-Dabh (born 1921). The group, which was founded in Addis Ababa, comprised up to 30 traditional instrumentalists, vocalists, and dancers from many different Ethiopian regions and ethnic groups (including Amhara, Tigray-Tigrinia, Oromo, Welayta, and Gimira). It was the first ensemble of its type, as these diverse instruments and ethnic groups previously had never played together. For a time, due to El-Dabh's efforts, the Orchestra was in residence at the Creative Arts Centre of Haile Selassie I University (now Addis Ababa University).
Orchestra Ethiopia – The Blue Nile Group [full album]
Its main instruments included krar (medium lyre), masenqo (one-string fiddle), begena (large lyre), washint (end-blown flute with finger holes), embilta (end-blown flute without finger holes), malakat (straight trumpet), kabaro (drum), and other percussion instruments. On occasion, it also used the tom, an mbira-like instrument.
Many of Orchestra Ethiopia's performances were theatrical in nature, such as the drama The Potter, which was arranged by El-Dabh.
Following El-Dabh's departure from Ethiopia in 1964, subsequent directors included John G. Coe, an American Peace Corps volunteer (1964-1966); and Tesfaye Lemma (1966-1975), both of whom composed and arranged for the group. During Lemma's tenure as director, in 1968, another American Peace Corps volunteer, the Harvard-educated Charles Sutton, Jr., was assigned by the Peace Corps to assist the Orchestra as Administrator, a position in which he continued until 1970. Sutton had arrived in Ethiopia in 1966 and, immediately attracted to Ethiopia's traditional music, actually mastered the masenqo, studying with Orchestra member Getamesay Abebe. He began performing with the Orchestra in March 1967 (playing masenqo and singing in Amharic), at Lemma's invitation. The group performed frequently in hotels and at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, and appeared on national radio (including Radio Voice of the Gospel) and television. The group also had an audience with Emperor Haile Selassie I.
In the spring of 1969, due to the efforts of Sutton and the Peace Corps, Orchestra Ethiopia toured the Midwest and East Coast of the United States, under the name "The Blue Nile Group". The group performed in twenty cities, including Manhattans Town Hall and The Ed Sullivan Show (in early March).
The group released two LP recordings, both entitled Orchestra Ethiopia. The first, subtitled "The Blue Nile Group", was released on Tempo Records c. 1969; and the second was released on Blue Nile Records, in 1973 or 1974. The Orchestra was also featured in a National Geographic documentary film entitled Ethiopia: The Hidden Empire (1970). By 1975, due to the upheavals caused by the Derg revolution, the group finally disbanded, although many of its musicians continued to perform with other groups, and as soloists. The group's washint player, Melaku Gelaw, lives and continues to perform and record in Washington, D.C.; Tesfaye Lemma, now retired, lives in Washington, D.C. Masenqo player Getamesay Abebe and drummer, vocalist, and star dancer Zerihun Bekkele, both retired, continue to live in Ethiopia. Washint player Yohannes Afework, who had replaced Gelaw, lives in Addis Ababa and is retired from the Mazegajabet (Municipality) Orchestra. Coe, the former Executive Director of the Wyoming Arts Council, is now retired and living in Wyoming; and Sutton performs today as a jazz pianist in Connecticut (and continues to play masenqo for special occasions). Several other of the Orchestra's members have died in Ethiopia.
A selection of the Orchestra's archival recordings transferred from reel to reel audiotape to audio CDs by the Ethiopian-American engineer Andrew Laurence was released in Europe in late 2007, and was released in the United States in February 2008, as the 23rd volume in Buda Musique's Ethiopiques CD series, with the liner notes having been prepared by Sutton and Lemma.
In 2007, a recording entitled Zoro Gettem (Reunion) was released on the Nahom Records label; the CD, recorded in Washington, D.C. in September 2006, features four of the Orchestra's former members (Charles Sutton, Getamesay Abbebe, Melaku Gelaw, and Tesfaye Lemma) performing repertoire they had performed together in the late 1960s.
A1 Gonderinna Gojjam (Vocals: Zerihun Bekkele) (3:43)
A2 Yesergey Ilet (Vocals: Tsehay Indale) (4:06)
A3 Himem, Himemey (Vocals: Kebbede Weldemariam) (3:44)
A4 Hodey Lahodey (Vocals: Almaz Getachew) (2:18)
A5 Ambassel (Washint: Yohannes Afework, Krar: Kebbede Weldemariam) (2:36)
B1 Mesenko (Vocals: Charles Sutton) (3:16)
B2 Muzikachin (Vocals: Tsehay Indale, Yeshi Mebratey) (3:36)
B3 Mikir Fellega (Vocals: Charles Sutton, Kebbede Weldemariam, Areru Shegen) (3:20)
B4 Imbilta (Imbiltas: Areru Shegen, Ishete Gebremeskel, Nadew Kassa) (2:03)
B5 Wichinna Beyt (Vocals: Kebbede Weldemariam, Tsehay Indale, Zerihun Bekkele, Yeshi Mebratey) (4:25)
The Orchestra Ethiopia is directed by Tesfaye Lemma.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Between 2003 and 2006, Bastien Lagatta, musician and ethnomusicologist, undertook musical researches among the agro-pastoral societies of the Omo valley, thanks to the support of the CNRS, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UNESCO. For months, he has shared the everyday life of the semi-nomads tribes Nyangatom, Mursi and Bodi, and has taken up the study of their musical repertories. The trek, of several hundred kilometres along the Omo river, in such an amazing natural environment, led him to the heart of Humanity with its peculiar mores, customs and habits.
Greatly endearing, these men and women live in a world whose balance is precarious. These recordings reveal the importance of this patrimonial, cultural and artistic heritage.
Benjamin Goldenstein & Patrick Frémeaux
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 01 - Introduction: Troupeaux De Zébus Aux Paturages (1:01)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 02 - Loniyang: Monodie (2:36)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 03 - Loutouleniyang: Monodie (1:49)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 04 - Lopelouk, Suivi De Lobokhiniyang (6:11)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 05 - Lokengkori (1:48)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 06 - Chants Des Vieux Bergers De La Génération Des Élephants (3:35)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 07 - Loumougoulmoye: Chant Collectif Mixte (3:07)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 08 - Chant De Travail: Duo Féminin (2:53)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 09 - Niameley Ye Loporiang (4:40)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 10 - Rienga Rienga Loporiang (6:08)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 11 - Aleke Lokholoya (4:50)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 12 - Flûte Mursi Morou (1:50)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 13 - Oletchay (1:04)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 14 - Naboula Nadongulu (1:44)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 15 - Nangwayna Kara (1:25)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 16 - Badio Laute (1:45)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 17 - Kalalalibosso (1:13)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 18 - Flûtes Morou (2:26)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 19 - Kaenaniye (1:01)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 20 - Komdaye (1:01)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 21 - Ayolo Deguelaye (1:08)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 22 - Noukouregnanineye (1:11)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 23 - ADJenoloynetch (0:35)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 24 - Flûtes Morou (1:02)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 25 - Ambiance De Fête Au Village De Gui Ha (1:14)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 26 - Trompe Trounotey (1:22)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 27 - Danse Et Chant Collectif Mixte Pour Les Troupeaux (1:27)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 28 - Duo Vocal Féminin (5:02)
The Warrior-Shepherds From The Omo Valley - Ethiopia - 29 - Epilogue: À Ce Voyage Musical… (1:05)
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Fasil Demoz and Jacky Gosee - Enqoqlish 
02 - Fasil Demoz - Ere Gedaie (አረ ገዳይ) (6:32)
03 - Fasil Demoz - Chub Chub (ቸብ ቸብ) (5:34)
04 - Fasil Demoz - Himem Gela (ሀመም ገላ) (5:48)
05 - Fasil Demoz - Cher Niga (ቸር ንጋ) (7:59)
06 - Fasil Demoz - Anchiye (አንችዬ) (7:06)
07 - Fasil Demoz - Kelaie Kelaie (ከላይ ከላይ) (5:38)
08 - Fasil Demoz - Shashe Areferefech (ሻሼ አረፈረፈች) (6:34)
09 - Fasil Demoz - Endiyandiya Neber (እንዲያንዲያ ነበር) (6:15)
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Amen Dunes is the project of Damon McMahon, whose mix of folk, psychedelia, and atmospherics has drawn comparisons to Roky Erickson, Syd Barrett, Chris Knox, Suicide, and Royal Trux.
Ethiopian pop is one of the world's strongest vernaculars, mainly because the guitars always sound wonderful and the singing is quite lovely and trembly. A far more astute analysis of one the country's vast archives is available through Buda Music's Ethiopiques, but Ethio Covers 7" by Amen Dunes is a nice entry point. Damon McMahon covers three unknown songs he found on a tape, layering sheened history and musicality with intelligence and depth. It's quite, quite lovely.
Amen Dunes - Ethio Song II
The self description of the Ethio Covers 7″ from the Amen Dunes website is that it is a “downer take on three Ethiopian tracks culled from unnamed tapes.”
Anyone familiar with music from the Ethiopa knows that the pop music exported from the country is a often jubilant music that simmers with heat and high energy vocal arrangements. These traits are not long for this world in the hands of McMahon. He strips most the sun from these tracks and leaves a final product that is more detached than simmering. The three tracks, titled “Ethio Song I,” “Ethio Song II” and “Ethio Song III,” are sweetly meditative songs that do an excellent job of recreating the sweltering setting where McMahon first heard the originals.
The three tracks are foggy yet sensual, with the ambient nature of the songs allowing for empty spaces where the listener can imprint their own feelings into the song (as good ambient songs are known to do).
“Ethio” is all reverb guitars and wobbly vocals, creating an eerie ambiance that is somehow both soothing and unsettling.
“Ethio II” is more muted and restrained, with a haunted organ riff that dances around a skeletal drum beat and some truly warped vocal styling. The three song 7″ is wrapped up with “Ethio III,” which splits the difference between the first two, with slightly more life than “Ethio” but more flesh and bone than “Ehthio II.”
All three tracks allow the listener to fall into a dream like trance and be swept up into the ether created by McMahon. The songs still capture the vibrancy of the original Ethiopian tracks, but are surrounded and engulfed by the sonic textures that McMahon is so deft at creating. The 7″ flies by in a brisk 11 minutes, but the time is well spent and the songs are packed full of life, showing again that the best ideas can really come from the most surprising places, even through the walls of your apartment.
01 - Amen Dunes - Ethio Song (5:03)
02 - Amen Dunes - Ethio Song II (3:31)
03 - Amen Dunes - Ethio Song III (2:26)