The very best of éthiopiques

The very best of éthiopiques

“The names may not mean much to a western audience, but almost every track is thrillingly addictive.” Uncut *****

“… Ethiopia’s contribution to popular music has been like a broadcast beaming out from a parallel universe. Thrilling loopy, intriguing, an emotional cauldron.” fROOTS.

” … this curiosity offers a route into a great word-of-mouth cult, raved about by a cognoscenti that runs from Elvis Costello to Win Butler.” The Times ****

“A rich and enjoyable box of musical delights …” The Wire

“Funk, soul and hot jazz from the heart of swinging Addis Ababa” Mojo ****

Released on 13th August 2007 on Manteca – MANTDCD245

Land-locked and mountainous, fiercely independent and with a complex history … perhaps it’s not surprising that Ethiopia – and the music of Ethiopia – should confound our Western preconceptions.

Beginning in 1986 with Mahmoud Ahmed’s ‘Erè mèla mèla’ on Crammed Discs, Francis Falceto has worked hard for this music. His abiding passion is the urban sound that flowered during the late 60s and early 70s – the dying years of Emperor Haile Selassie and the beginnings of the ‘Derg’, a military junta led by Mengistu, now an exile in Zimbabwe.

Mahmoud’s ‘Erè mèla mèla’ was 11 years old by the time Francis gave it its first non-Ethiopian release, and the response to the big-band sound with powerful vocals and strange yet strangely familiar 5-note scales over an urgent, addictive 6/8 groove, was very healthy. But the junta had other ideas. Travel was restricted, exports controlled, paranoia ruled. There was also the small matter of a tragic war.

Today the politics are still confused, but some policies are more relaxed and the “distinguished fan club” of that early release and the ‘golden years’ of the 60s and 70s is growing by the day. On Buda Musique “this stubborn collection” of éthiopiques now numbers over 20 albums and the use of arranger Mulatu Astatqé’s music in the cult movie ‘Broken Flowers’ (included here) has helped reach a wider audience. High-profile media converts are a regular occurrence eg Robert Plant, Brian Eno, Jamie Cullum, Elvis Costello, Charlie Gillett and Gilles Peterson.

Because once this music gets under your skin, it just won’t let go. Enigmatic, elusive, mysterious and different, yet familiar and evocative: the adjectives become more confused as the addiction takes hold. Union Square Music is proud to present 2CDs that open the door to one of the most fascinating musical worlds of our time: éthiopiques.

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Press Tickets:
Name: Gerry Lyseight
Phone: 020 7095 8146