• Music

    Earthtones & Etsegenet Mekonnen – Selam

    This is a rather glorious single pairing American DJ Earthtones with Ethiopian singer Etsegenet Mekonnen.  From the release’s Bandcamp site: “Selam is a vision of peace. This collaboration between producer/DJ Earthtones and Ethiopian musician/vocalist Etsegenet Mekonnen features haunting vocals sung in Amharic. Analog & semi-modular synths combine with 909 drums and afrobeats percussion by Earthtones, to weave grooves for Etsegenet’s depth in songwriting, voice and soul. The main version has a dancehall bassline that calls one to movement, while the dub versions evoke mystery amidst long modulated leads + filtered pads.”

  • Music

    Aselefech Ashine & Getenesh Kebret – ሸ​ገ​ኔ​ዎ​ች (Beauties)

    Mississippi Records has unearthed an Ethiopian gem from the middle 1970s.  From their Bandcamp site: “On this 1976 gem of a record, Aselefech Ashine and Getenesh Kebret’s voices intertwine in close harmony, the two “beauties” singing in duet across 10 gorgeous tracks. The Army Band, which backed greats like Tlahoun Gesesse and Mahmoud Ahmed, brings Mulatu-esque minor-key piano runs, interlocking percussion, and rock-steady basslines. Arranger Teshome Sisay’s flute winds through the compositions, tying together gloriously woozy horns. The greatest elements of Ethiopia’s Golden Age combine here, in one of the final records of the era. Aselefech and Getenesh were raised…

  • Music

    Girma Yifrashewa – My Strong Will

    Girma Yifrashewa is a graduate of the Yared School of Music in Addis Ababa, and continued his studies at the Sofia State Conservatory of Music in Bulgaria.  This new work of his combines Ethiopian instrumentation with classical music, and it blends together quite well.

  • Music

    Jantra – Synthesized Sudan: Astro-Nubian Electronic Jaglara Dance Sounds from the Fashaga Underground

    This wonderfully weird album from a composer called Jantra is a bit of a challenge to describe.  Best to let the magnificent Ostinato Records lay out their case for this gem, as written on their Bandcamp site: “Near the border of Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, a disputed area called Fashaga is home to one of the most raucous, hypnotic, addictive, and celestial dance musics being made anywhere in Africa, perhaps the least known to the wider world of them all. Far from the townships of South Africa or the cities of Nigeria, this sound belongs to people intimately tied to…

  • Music - Youtube

    Alèmayèhu Eshèté – Alteleyeshegnem

    Another day, another great loss to music.  The legendary Alèmayèhu Eshèté, known lovingly as the “Ethiopian Elvis,” passed away yesterday at the age of around 80.  I came across his work on this particular album, Éthiopiques 10: Tezeta – Ethiopian Blues & Ballads, and though I didn’t hear much Elvis (despite some physical similarities), I was floored by how beautifully Ethiopian music, rock and blues could blend into each other.