The great Ethiopiques CD series has done an excellent job of bringing Ethiopian music of the "golden seventies" to the attention of true music fans all over the world. This remarkable era of big brass bands producing rich and amazing music came to an end with the period of the "Derg", the military government in Ethiopia from 1975 till 1991. After that, the scene seemed confused. Many great musicians were forced into exile or passed away. The horns mostly disappeared and were replaced by cheap keyboards everywhere. Awful bombastic overproduced "plastic" pop-productions flooded the market. Synthesisers, vocoders, drum machines and hasty productions that all sound alike.
Artist: Tirundel Zenebe
Artist: Tesfay Taye
But in the last few years something new has been emerging. Young producers have started combining traditional rhythms and strong dance beats. The result is very original, uplifting and very danceable music. The gurage, wollo, gondar, konso and other traditional rhythms work wonders for this new dance music. And the Ethiopian youth loves it. It can be heard not only in the hip areas like Bole, but all over Addis and other Ethiopian urban areas. Blasting from restaurants, taxis, coffeeplaces, grocery stores and Addis’ giant market, the Mercato (Africa's largest outdoor market, for anyone planning a visit to Addis).
Last year a small Amsterdam-based indie label called Terp Records released Ililta, a CD compilation of this new Ethiopian dance music. This music was recorded over the last decade with a new generation of singers, and was a cross-selection of the production work of Mesele Asmamaw and some of his close colleagues. The new 12” we've got here was recorded during one of experimental/post-punk/punk-jazz band The Ex’s musical exchange projects in Ethiopia and mixed in Amsterdam by two members of the band. This collaboration marks an exciting new chapter in this series, so get yourself a copy and play it loud!
- Terrie Ex, May 2011
WHERE TO BUY
12" or CD single
PERSONNEL & SINGLE DETAILS
• Tirudel Zenebe - vocals [Gue]
• Tesfaye Taye - vocals [Selame]
• Mesele Asmamaw - krar, backing vocals
• Andy Moor - guitar, baritone guitar
• Arnold de Boer - beats, bass synth
• Misale Legesse - kobero [Selame]
• Gurage side: Gue - Tirundel Zenebe
• Konso side: Selame - Tesfay Taye
Initiated by Mesele Asmamaw. Recorded in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, May 2009 in Mesele’s Studio, Olympia. Produced, mixed and mastered January 2011, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands by Arnold de Boer and Andy Moor.