Samuel Yirga; Guzo (Real World/Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

Samuel Yirga: Abet Abet
Samuel Yirga; Guzo (Real World/Southbound)

With the Ethiopiques reissue series, the rediscovery of Mulatu Astatke, groups like Dub Colossus and Syriana, and singer Mahmoud Ahmed, the music of Ethipia has certainly garnered attention in recent years.

This album by a gifted young and classically trained Ethiopian pianist/composer has more than enough rhythmic and melodic elements from his homeland to place in under world music, although I suspect most would be more likely to filed it under “jazz” because of the amount of cool-school improviation here.

Yirga also knows his way around funk and soul, the angular style of Thelonious Monk (Dance with the Legend) and has been a member of the Ethiopian-fusion group Dub Colossus. So here are bouyant horn-lead tunes (Abet Abet, Firma Ena Wereket) and passages of introspection (Ye Bati Koyita) alongside the vocal tracks.

When he brings in vigorous African percussion (kebero drum), the Creole Choir of Cuba and a traditional fiddle (the single-stringed messenqo), this diverse album connects across musical and geographic boundaries.

But because of that diversity – and perhaps by having parts recorded in Addis Ababa and England – this does feel lacking in coherence at times, tryng to be al things to many different parts of his abilities perhaps.

So despite being here under world music, it will mostly appeal to those who might have expected to be looking under our jazz pages.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2016 (Cartell/Border)

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2016 (Cartell/Border)

For many decades the punchline was,"French pop" . . . because when it came to pop music it seemed the French -- stuck somewhere between cool chanson and fashion chic -- didn't quite... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Omara Portuondo: Gracias (Harmonia Mundi)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Omara Portuondo: Gracias (Harmonia Mundi)

The great Cuban singer - who came to world attention via the Buena Vista Social Club a decade ago - is still going even though she is in her late 70, which may be some kind of testament to the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

RY COODER INTERVIEWED (2009): Dry, wry and moving right along

RY COODER INTERVIEWED (2009): Dry, wry and moving right along

Ry Cooder -- if a slightly flinty 15 minute conversation with someone who rarely gives interviews suggests -- gives the clear impression of someone who doesn’t like to waste his... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: David Bowie: Nothing Has Changed

THE BARGAIN BUY: David Bowie: Nothing Has Changed

With David Bowie's passing there has been a landslide of merchandising – all the vinyl reissues, compilations and picture discs – but if you just want an interesting and sometimes... > Read more