Various Artists – Buda / Ethiopiques, Ethiopiques Volume 5: Tigrigna Music

Banning Eyre

By Banning Eyre

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Ethiopiques Volume 5: Tigrigna Music

Various Artists - Buda / Ethiopiques

The Derg's suppression of music from Eritrea and Tigray, home of the Abyssinian Orthodox Church, forced producer Amha Eshètè into exile in 1975. The rootsy pop records sampled in these 18 tracks were sometimes buried in peoples 'yards to avoid detection, and in one case (the tracks by Teklè Tèsfa-Ezghi), never released at all until Éthiopiques came along. Politics aside, the music here features jangling, electrified krar (traditional lyre), electric guitars, the moody one-string mèssenqo violin, as well as lots of hand-clapping and ululating. The vocals can't match the great Addis crooners heard on other volumes, but the rootsy, high-spirited grooves offer more irresistible permutations of 4/4 and 6/8 time, and some of the string playing is first class. Many of these musicians went on to fight in the coming Eritrean independence war.