Tewesta: Remembranceby Addis Acoustic Project
The Ethiopiques compilations, which proved to be a valuable window on the country's soulful 1970s music, raised interest in Ethiopian music, a taste that's continued to grow. The Addis Acoustic Project, though, look back even further, to the 1950s, when the sounds were more mellow and the instrumentation a little different, with accordion, mandolin, and clarinet playing more prominent roles. For most of this album, the six-piece band has rearranged some of the vintage hits to give a jazzier vibe to the proceedings. The linchpin is band founder Girum Mezmur, who plays guitars and accordion, while the others -- also including bass, drums, and kebero (Ethiopian drum kit) -- provide plenty of melody. In some ways, it's an Ethiopian version of Buena Vista Social Club, although the fact that it's largely instrumental means there's not the same vocal orientation or single emergent personality -- nor are most of the musicians from the original era, except for mandolinist Ayele Mamo. It's a very satisfying collection, light on the surface but with plenty of depth, and at times downright mysterious, as with "Ambassel," whose musical mode is decidedly non-Western. "Yigermal" dances with joy, featuring mandolin and clarinet playing with dexterous beauty, and "Ema Rumba," which features a single-string fiddle, resonates back to the great Haile Selassie. So there's ample history here, but from that history this band is forging a new future.
- Release Date:
- World Village Usa
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