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Zion Roots


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Audio CD, December 9, 2003
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$16.03 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 2 left in stock. Sold by Fulfillment Express US and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Bati Bati 3:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Gela 6:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Alesema 7:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Monew Natana 5:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Embe Ashafergne 4:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Gole 6:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Aba Alem Lemenea 4:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Gedawo 4:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Lebaye 4:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Ethiopia 6:16$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 9, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Network
  • ASIN: B0000CC623
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,867 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Anyone enthralled by the sprawling Ethiopiques series on Buda Musique may find a fascinating if unintentional addition to that series in Abyssinia Infinite's Zion Roots. Whereas the Ethiopiques series lovingly compiles far-flung tracks recorded during the "golden age" of the Ethiopian record industry in the early to mid-1970s, Zion Roots is an illustration of the astounding creativity and life still coursing through modern Ethiopian music. Although Abyssinia Infinite boasts a cast of Ethiopian musicians alongside producer Bill Laswell (heard here on acoustic guitar) and some of his frequent collaborators like percussionists Karsh Kale and Aiyb Dieng and accordionist Tony Cedras, this is essentially the second album by Gigi, the Ethiopian singer with an overworldly voice whose self-titled debut featured her alongside such jazz heavyweights as Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. Fans of a more traditional Ethiopian or world-beat sound may be pleased to discover that "Zion Roots" is a much more organic-sounding recording than was that album or its Bill Laswell remix, Illuminated Audio. While there are some modern production elements here that bear Laswell's stamp, like backwards acoustic guitar effects and layered keyboards, for the most part this is acoustic trance music that never loses its connection to the traditional songs--in some cases hundreds of years old--Gigi sings here in new arrangements. On tracks like "Gela," which features a mesmerizing kirar (an ancient Ethiopian harp) pattern, the richly percussive "Gedawo" or the entrancing hymn "Ethiopia" that closes the album, Gigi proves that Ethiopian music has a bright future as well as a rich past. --Ezra Gale

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
It is a modern music and by a very contemporary musician.
Martha Teklu
This is a beautiful album with more great singing from the excellent Gigi Shibabaw, good musicianship from Ethiopian musicians, very relaxing music.
Amazon Customer
This cd is essential for anyone interested in Ethiopian music, world music, or just good music that feels great.
nadav haber

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By nadav haber on March 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Gigi's long awaited new album has not failed its promise. This new cd follows the same general lines of her previous album, with less jazz-fusion touches and more traditional Ethiopian sound.
To this album Gigi brought several different Ethiopian rhythms. There is a song with a touch of Guragegnya (Embe Asheferegne), and an Agaw song (Monew Natana). Other than that, Gig sticks to Amhara based music, with the two catchiest Ethiopian scales (Bati and Tizita). There are, of course, touches of funk that probably come from Bill Laswell.
It is interesting to compare this music, aimed at world music market, with music that is being aimed at Ethiopians more exclusively. While Gigi's music is very rhythmic, it is not dance music, while practically all music that is produced for the Ethiopian market is dance music.
Gigi's great contribution is that her work offers the highest standards of production - in sound, arrangement and instrumentation. She thus opens the way for Ethiopian musicians to the broader world market, and brings the Ethiopian sounds to many fresh, non-Ethiopian ears.
Gigi has an average voice in the traditional Ethiopian sense, but her voice is perfect for the setting that the album offers. It is sensual and reflective, and allows the general "world" mood that is required. The playing of the other musicians on this cd is amazing, from the traditional Kirar and washint to the more modern saxophone. The tenor sax is played by Moges Habte, who is, in my opinion, the leading Ethiopian sax player today, and deserves greater exposure.
My favorite track is the last, "Ethiopia", that features a beautiful, haunting loop behind Gigi's best singing.
This cd is essential for anyone interested in Ethiopian music, world music, or just good music that feels great.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By BlackTropic on February 16, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is really Bill Lasswell at the top of his game. Of course the stars of the album are Gigi and the wonderful musicians. This is truly beautiful music, intriguingly presented , heavy on traditional acoustic instruments. Gigi's voice is truly superb as others have noted; she manages to instill these songs (a collection of traditional and Gigi-composed tunes) with an amazing interplay of inspirational religiosity, atmospheric exoticism, and certainly, sentient eroticism as well. At the same time, it's manifestly Ethiopian and African. What more could you want? Gigi is an amazing performer (I've seen her live) and this album effectively captures her ethereal and cretive artistry and musicianship. Defiinitely a very appealing album for hard core African music fans; the haunting saxophones and accordion are great as are the rhythms and beats. Meaningful lyrics to boot (summaries provided).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD
What with the album title and all, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a reggae album, but back in Ethiopia, they actually take that whole Land of Zion thing pretty literally. But no, this isn't another rasta lovefest -- rather, it's a quite lovely, subtly textured and dreamalicious Bill Laswell-produced project which picks up where Ethiopian pop pioneers such as Mahmoud Ahmed left off. Singer Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw has a lovely voice, and her smooth style stands in welcome contrast to the normal shrillness of much of the older, classic Ethiopian pop and traditional recordings. The soundscape here is spacy, hypnotic and amorphous, akin to Sheila Chandra or Natacha Atlas in their mellower moments; although lushly produced, the album doesn't lapse into outright trip-hop -- unlike previous Gigi/Laswell collaaborations, this disc always retains a distinctively local sound. Fans of the fabled "ETHIOPIQUES" series will definitely want to check this disc out to get a sense of where that style has gone, and anyone looking for some relaxing yet substantive world music will like this as well.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Anything Gigi touches turns to gold. She could sing the alphabet backwards and it would sound good. As the liner notes will tell you, this is a "concept album" with a more classical or traditional Ethiopian sound (call and response singing phrases, traditional instruments like the washint [flute], and more acoustics). Four of the 10 songs are traditional, the others were written by Gigi. Like Gigi's last two albums, this one is also in collaboration with Bill Laswell.
This is a beautiful album with more great singing from the excellent Gigi Shibabaw, good musicianship from Ethiopian musicians, very relaxing music. Check out Gigi's other albums as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Clarke on October 31, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I have owned this cd/album for at least two years and I love it. I listen to it endlessly. It is always on my car cd player, never out of my sight. ZION ROOTS is beautifully produced. The musicians are at the top of their game, as far as I can discern. I love Gigi--everything she does. She takes me with her. One of your reviewers says she has a medium voice as far as Ethiopian singers go. Okay, but so did Billie Holiday; but it is what she did with the octave plus one that she had. Gigi goes the length. My favorite piece is "Aba Alem Lemenea," which I first heard on a limited circulation cd of music by African musicians, used to raise money for AIDS projects in Africa. From that cd, I searched Gigi out. ZION is magnificent. I love the liner notes. All of us should own it. Cheryl Clarke, Jersey City, N.J.
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