Ethiopian Jazz - World Music Network
THE ROUGH GUIDE to
01 MULATU ASTATKE Gamo
from the album SKETCHES OF ETHIOPIA
06 TLAHOUN GESSESSE Aykedashem Lebe
from the album ETHIOPIQUES 17 (822662)
02 AKALÉ WUBÉ Alègntayé
from the album SOST (CS1497)
07 SAMUEL YIRGA Firma Ena Wereket
from the album GUZO (CDRW190)
03 THE BUDOS BAND Origin Of Man
from the album THE BUDOS BAND II (DAP011)
08 GABRIELLA GHERMANDI Be Kibir
from the album ETHIPOIA (EUCD2642)
(Gerssu/Mulatu Astatke) pub Copyright Control.
Licensed from Jazz Village.
(Tesfayé Abbèdè/Ayalèw Abbèdè) pub Alter-k.
Licensed from Clapson SARL.
(Thomas Brenneck/Dan Foder/Jared Tankel)
pub Extraordinaire Music, BMI. Licensed from
04 GETATCHEW MEKURIA & THE EX &
from the album Y’ANBESSAW TEZETA
(Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex) pub Terp Records.
Licensed from Terp Records.
(Tezera Hayle-Michael) Copyright Control.
Licensed from Buda Musique.
(Samuel Yirga/Aklilu W/yohannes) pub Real World
Works. Licensed from Real World Records.
(Gabriella Ghermandi) pub ARC Music
Productions Int. Ltd. Licensed from ARC Music
Productions International Ltd.
09 EMAHOY TSEGUE-MARYAL GUEBROU
The Homeless Wanderer
from the album ETHIOPIQUES 21:
ETHIOPIA SONG (860122)
(Emahoy Tsegue-Maryal Guebrou) Copyright
Control. Licensed from Buda Musique.
05 TESFA MARYAM KIDANE Heywete
from the album ETHIOPIQUES 1 (829512)
(Tesfa Maryam Kidane) Copyright Control.
Licensed from Buda Musique.
Series produced by Phil Stanton. Compiled by Dan Rosenberg. Mastered by Laurence Cedar. Coordinated by Brad Haynes.
Sleeve notes by Dan Rosenberg Front cover licensed from Getty Images. Design by Brad Haynes.
With thanks to John Duhigg and all at Rough Guides, Sandra Alayón-Stanton, Neil Record and all at World Music Network.
Produced by World Music Network in association with Rough Guides. The World Music Network name and logo are registered trademarks of
World Music Network UK Ltd.
New Orleans is widely seen as the birthplace of
jazz, where African slaves created groundbreaking
music that fused elements from both Africa and
Western traditions. By the twentieth century, jazz
(and subsequent African-based musical forms
including soul, funk, and Cuban rumba) travelled
back across the Atlantic, first through recordings
and later by artists on tour. There, African
musicians immediately recognized the source
roots, adapted some, altered others, and in the
process, created entirely new musical forms.
In Ethiopia, one of the first major musicians to
lay the groundwork for Ethio-jazz was Nerses
Nalbandian. His family escaped the Armenian
genocide in Turkey, and settled in Ethiopia, where
Nalbandian would become a band leader for many
burgeoning Ethio-jazz musicians in the 1950s.
Largely credited as being the greatest innovator
of Ethio-jazz and exposing it to the world, Mulatu
Astatke was born in 1943 in Jimma, Ethiopia.
He travelled to Wales in the late 1950s to study
engineering and to the chagrin of his parents,
Astatke began to take an interest in music, first
studying Western classical music before heading
to Boston’s Berklee College of Music to formally
study jazz. It was there where Astatke took the
fusion of traditional Ethiopian folk music and
American jazz to a new level. Astatke explained
its roots to the BBC, ‘There are tribes in the
south called the Derashe. They are surrounded
by people who play five tone music but they have
created a diminished 12-tone scale. Diminished
scales are very important in jazz music especially
for improvising. We learn how Charlie Parker
came up with diminished scales as well as Claude
Debussy and Bach. But always on my mind is the
question of who were first with the scale, these
people or the Derashe tribe?’
By the late 1960s, Astatke decided to return to
Ethiopia in order to cultivate Ethio-jazz in his
homeland. At first, his vibraphone-based folkjazz was considered quite unorthodox. However,
within years, it transformed the capital, which
came to be known as ‘Swinging Addis’. The late
1960s and early 1970s were known as the ‘golden
age’ in Addis Ababa, as countless jazz orchestras
and ensembles thrived in the city, led by the
innovations of Mulatu Astatke and saxophonist
extraordinaire, Getatchew Mekuria. Addis
Ababa was in full swing in 1973 when American
jazz legend Duke Ellington came to town and
performed together with Mulatu Astatke.
Much of the Ethiopian jazz scene came crashing
down the following year, in 1974, when a
Soviet-backed military junta known as the Derg
overthrew the government. The consequences
of the coup and subsequent ‘Red Terror’ were
profound. It left tens of thousands dead and
military curfews virtually destroyed the thriving
musical club scene.
When the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, the
Derg lost its backing and was subsequently
overthrown. That decade saw a rebirth in
Ethiopia. The budding democracy quickly became
a thriving home of musical creativity. Ethiopian
Jazz hit new global audiences through CD
releases that included the Ethiopiques series
and Rough Guide albums. Astatke’s captivating
soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch’s film Broken
Flowers in 2005 brought Ethio-jazz to even wider
audiences. Today, Astatke is still active, and his
creativity has inspired a new generation of artists
in Ethiopia, Europe, North America and beyond.
Swinging Addis is thriving once again, with the distinctive ancientsounding tones of Ethiopia blending with modern jazz interpretations
to create a totally unmistakable fusion. From the legendary innovators
Mulatu Astatke and Getatchew Mekuria to today’s new generation
of artists, this Rough Guide celebrates this burgeoning and most
captivating of musical scenes.
Compiled by Dan Rosenberg
01 Mulatu Astatke Gamo 05:12
02 Akalé Wubé Alègntayé 04:17
03 The Budos Band Origin Of Man 04:52
04 Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex & Friends Ambassel 07:36
05 Tesfa Maryam Kidane Heywete 05:13
06 Tlahoun Gessesse Aykedashem Lebe 04:56
07 Samuel Yirga Firma Ena Wereket 06:55
08 Gabriella Ghermandi Be Kibir 08:16
09 Emahoy Tsegue-Maryal Guebrou The Homeless Wanderer 07:05
Total Playing Time: 54:42
for comprehensive notes, videos and more music.
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World Music Network 2016.
Made in the EU.