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Music From Ethiopia

Music From Ethiopia (Topic TSCD910)

Music From Ethiopia
Field recordings by Jean Jenkins

Topic Records TSCD910 (CD, UK, 1994)

Released under licence from Tangent Records;
Recordings and notes by Jean Jenkins

Ethiopia, with its high mountains, vast deserts, its Rift Valley lakes and its Blue Nile river, contains equally diverse peoples within its borders. Some are farmers, some pastoralists, and others hunt and practise a little shifting cultivation; some speak Semitic languages and others Cushitic; some are monophysite Christians, some Moslems, while a small Judaic sect still exists and many peoples, especially in the South West, are animalists. They are all part of the Ethiopian empire. In 1970 Tangent Records released Ethiopia, music of the Central Highlands, the Desert Nomads and Eritrea, as a series of three long-playing analogure records. These recordings have been re-edited to form this single CD.


Music of the Central Highlands

  1. Ethiopian church service (3.19)
  2. Ethiopian funeral lamentation (2.29)
  3. The Judaic Falasha’s daily prayer (2.38)
  4. Aleka Tessema Wolde Amanuel of Shoa province sings to harp accompaniment (2.41)
  5. Bahru Qenyé of Wollo province sings “Batie” accompanied on masenqo (one-stringed fiddle) (2.37)
  6. Boy herding cattle near Abbi-Addi in the Tenhien region of Tigré province plays his washint (notched flute) (2.02)
  7. Skista dance (often performed at weddings) sung and danced in the ancient capital Axum (2.07)
  8. Taitu Kassa of Gondar sings a love song accompanied on kerar (bowl lyre) (2.05)
  9. Dance in the Gurage town of Butajira (2.23)
  10. “Incitement-into-battle” song (fukera, shillele, or kataru) recorded in Gondar, Beghemdir province (0.56)
  11. Gathering in Adi Ugri, Serae district, Eritrea province, heralded by embiltas (notched single-note flutes) (1.29)

Music of the Desert Nomads

  1. Gadabursi (Somali tribe in northern Ogaden) elder leads kinsmen into a tribal history song at a feast concluding Ramadan (1.10)
  2. Afar salt miner sings work song (1.43)
  3. Rashaida (Arabic-speaking tribe) dance (1.57)
  4. Afar song honouring those who have killed (2.23)
  5. Borana balabat (local chief) near Yavello sings praising his cattle (1.39)
  6. Borana men sing to drawing water from a well (2.40)
  7. Gerre chief near Wachille leads religious singing of his tribe (9.11)

Music of Eritrea

  1. Rashaida all-night dance (excerpt) (2.07)
  2. Rashaida all-night dance (excerpt) (1.36)
  3. Beni Amer man in Dugga Dama plays a song about a cow on a rebaka (five-stringed bowl lyre) (1.57)
  4. Baria girls in Gogno drum to men singing and dancing (1.52)
  5. Afar near Mersa Fatima on the Red Sea coast sing after a wedding party (2.16)
  6. Serae play music at a feast in Adi Ugri (2.18)
  7. Chief of the Minifere group near Arafuli leads Friday prayer (2.18)
  8. Kunama man at Dukambia plays funfera (flute) (2.02)
  9. Zar (evuk spirit) exorcism in Massawa (2.41)
  10. Girls are drumming and singing at Bilen wedding (2.24)
  11. Historical ballad of Neguesse sung in Tigrnya, accompanied on kerar (bowl lyre) (3.25)
  12. Kunama girsl drum to dancing and singing men (2.11)
  13. Afta chief in the Zula district on the Red Sea sings while milking a stubborn cow (2.33)