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 from Elsewhere articles index

Various Artists: A New Day; The Laya Project Remixed (EarthSync)

Various Artists: A New Day; The Laya Project Remixed (EarthSync)

In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami which swept across large tracts of Asia, music producer Patrick Sebag and others visited the regions to record and film local musicians. This became the... > Read more

STAFF BENDA BILILI INTERVIEWED (2012): Takin' it from the street

STAFF BENDA BILILI INTERVIEWED (2012): Takin' it from the street

The connection to Renate, wherever she is, seems to be fine. But between her and Kinshasa in the Congo where Ricky Likabu, our target, is . . . that's another matter. Then of course there is the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

TARANAKI WOMAD CONSIDERED (2017): Another Womarathon of world music

TARANAKI WOMAD CONSIDERED (2017): Another Womarathon of world music

The best speeches by dignitaries are short and, fortunately, they were when the Taranaki Womad launched last Friday. The most memorable comment – aside from the figure of $104 million... > Read more

Bob Dylan: Copper Kettle (1970)

Bob Dylan: Copper Kettle (1970)

When Bob Dylan's 10th album -- the double vinyl Self Portrait -- was released in 1970 it was received with bewlidered or damning reviews, the most notable being Greil Marcus in Rolling Stone who... > Read more