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Ethiopiques, Vol. 1: Golden Years Of Modern Ethiopian Music Import

4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, February 3, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The influences of American soul and blues are obvious here, the former quite apparent in the Memphis groove of Muluquen Mellese's Wetetie Mare, with its smoking bass line. But the most revolutionary pieces are those that go utterly against history, making the piece relevant for the young--which, after all, is what rock, hip-hop and every other movement have done in the past!

1969-1978: the main body of Ethiopian records was produced in less than one decade: all in all, just under 500 45s and around 30 LPs. Amha Ashèté, creator of the Amha Records label, was the driving force behind this brief creative burst and one of the main founders of the modernist movement which swept the Erhiopian scene during the end of the rule of the emperor Haile Sellassie. In six years, Amha issued around 250 titles. From his first recordings, Amha Eshèté displayed unerring taste in choosing the best independent or otherwise unattached musicians.
Featuring : Girma Bèyènè, Mulatu Astatqè, Fèqadè Amdè Mesqel, Tesfa Maryam Kidané, Muluqèn Mèllèssè, Mahmoud Ahmed, Sèyfu Yohannès, Tèshomè Meteku, Gètatchèw Kassa, Tilayé Gèbrè etc

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The introductory album to what is an ongoing series on the music of Ethiopia from the '60s and '70s features a variety of vocal and instrumental tracks from artists mostly unfamiliar to Western audiences. This brief period of liberated creativity before a military shutdown yielded an astonishing burst of creativity, melding the traditions of Ethiopia (geographically and culturally straddling Africa and the Middle East) with R&B and European pop in unexpected ways. Loping rhythms merge with Memphis-style horns, wheezy Farfisa organs, and quavering but passionate vocals that at times shimmer with brilliance. Early tracks by superstar Mahmoud Ahmed merge with rarities like the stunning Teshome Meteku, whose career spanned only four tracks total. Ending with the biggest ever hit, Getatchew Kassa's "Tezeta" (5,000 copies sold), this will leave you wanting more, as will the wonderful and comprehensive liner notes. --Derek Rath

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Hedetch Alu
  2. Wetetie Mare
  3. Ete Endenesh Gedawo
  4. Gizie Degu Neger
  5. Yeqer Memekatesh
  6. Aynotche Terabu
  7. Ewnet Yet Lagegnesh
  8. Tezeta
  9. Mela Mela
  10. Bemgnot Alnorem
  11. Gara Ser New Betesh
  12. Yezemed Yebaed
  13. Mot Adeladlogn
  14. Hasabe
  15. Heywte
  16. Tezeta (Slow)
  17. Tezeta (Fast)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 3, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Buda Musique
  • ASIN: B000001N74
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,952 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This collection presents songs from what to me are the best years of Ethiopian music (1969-1975). The first three songs are by Muluken Melesse, who enjoys some kind of a legendary status among Ethiopians. These songs justify his reputation. His voice is really extraordinary, and the band plays in what was then a new style in Ethiopian music, which was more rythmic and smooth than the earlier "police orchestra" style. Muluken is followed by Mahmud Ahmad, in songs that are well known and sound as good as any. The two songs by Seyfu Yohannes are very special "Mela Mela" and "Tizita". These are arranged and performed so well that you wonder why he did not become a star. Four songs by Teshome Metuku are in the highest standard - Jazzy arrangements and mellow singings. There is the classic Tizita by Getachew Kassa, which to me is one of the best two versions ever recorded (the other is Muluken's version). Three instrumentals by Mulatu Astatke's band add to this classic CD, especially "Hewete" which should be recognized as one of the most beautiful Ethiopian instrumentals ever recorded. This collection makes you wonder where has all this talent disappeared, and sure makes you ask for more of the same.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
This MP3 download lacks four tracks from the original CD, all by Tèshomé Meteku. Must be a problem with permissions. One of the missing songs turns up on The Rough Guide to Ethiopia (Rough Guide World Music CDs). Both of the Christgau-recommended tracks (Mulequèn Mèllèssè, "Wètètié maré" and Sèyfu Yohannès, "Tezeta") are here.
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Format: Audio CD
I will keep this short. First, check this out on the MP3 digital download, which is far cheaper, albeit a couple of songs fewer. You definitely need a love for the eclectic, but this music is infectious. It is performed with passion and intensity. There is both ska and reggae influence (or is it the other way around). I know nothing about Ethiopian "pop" music, but this is way, way cool IMHO.
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By A Customer on December 13, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Wild, beautiful Ethiopian Deep Soul music - this album is sublime. Definitely in the same league of ethnic R&B as the great Intensified Ska reissues, but with the conspicuous presence of middle eastern and eritrean melodies and innovation. I would recommend this to any sensitive person who loves authentic music of any sort.
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Ethiopiques, Vol. 1: Golden Years Of Modern Ethiopian Music
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