Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ethiopiques, Vol. 8: Swinging Addis

With ties--most of them clearly nonbinding--to the sanctioned musical institutions of Ethiopia in the 1960s (police bands and the like), the singers and players on the Ethiopiques series of reissues were in a funky bind. They had pledged some allegiance to Emperor Haile Selassie I and his imperial declarations, but their muses picked up distant signals from North America, including jazz's horn charts, funk's on-the-one rhythms, and an overriding sense of urgency in music made by youth. Here's volume 8 of the Ethiopiques series, testimony in 70-plus minutes to the winning power of the youth culture's music. With the series' most unabashed nod to James Brown in Alèmayèhu Eshèté's six tracks, volume 8 goes further than its predecessors in documenting a jazzy, soulful, electric-keyboard-fueled scene that simply ignores conventional musical borders. Eshèté's vocals bark and then soar over the webbed rhythms with all the force of Brown's--and an additionally rich range of guitars and keyboards that race around and through each other like polyrhythmic drums. What volume 8 shows is that the impact of soul, jazz, and funk (try Lèmma Dèmissew on for size) provided so much quiltwork to be syncopated together in these hip, danceable tunes. Listening to Samuel Bèlay's band kick the horns over an artfully hanging-back rhythmic tide, it's hard to imagine that a musical culture this rich could be stymied by the late 1970s--just a few years after Selassie's regime was crushed. --Andrew Bartlett

Ethiopiques Volume 8: Swinging Addis

01.Ene Negn Bay Manesh - Girma Beyene
02.Mar Teb Yelal Kafesh
03.Hasabe - Ayalew Mesfin
04.Tchero Adari Negn - Alemayehu Eschete
05.Betchayen Tegodahu - Alemayehu Eschete
06.Tessassategn Eko - Bahta Gebre-Heywet
07.Gizie - Bahta Gebre-Heywet
08.Astawesalehu - Lemma Demissew
09.Adrashash Tefabegn - Lemma Demissew
10.Lezelalem Nuri - Lemma Demissew
11.Yetesfa Tezeta - Tesfa-Maryam Kidane
12.Aynotchesh Yerefu - Samuel Belay
13.Qeresh Endewaza - Samuel Belay
14.Set Alamenem - Girma Beyene
15.Yebeqagnal - Girma Beyene
16.Enken Yelelebesh - Girma Beyene
17.Betchayen Tekezie - Getatchew Kassa
18.Afer Yemegneshal - Alemayehu Eschete
19.Eskegizew Bertchi - Alemayehu Eschete
20.Ayalqem Tedengo - Alemayehu Eschete
21.Honey Baby - Alemayehu Eschete

1 comment:

marram62 said...