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

Sa Dingding: Alive (Universal)

Sa Dingding: Alive (Universal)

Elsewhere has frequently posted Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan music recorded in the field and of earthy authenticity (or soaring spirituality). But we aren't averse to a bit of Cantonese pop,... > Read more

Various Artists: The Original Sound of Cumbia (Soundway)

Various Artists: The Original Sound of Cumbia (Soundway)

In one of the least inspiring covers in Christendom -- and with the big-breath subtitle "The History of Colombian Cumbia and Porro as told by the Phonograph 1948-79" -- this utterly... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BRYAN FERRY INTERVIEWED (2004): Something he just threw on?

BRYAN FERRY INTERVIEWED (2004): Something he just threw on?

Let's be honest, this is how we think Bryan Ferry spends his days: he rises just before noon after having tea, toast, marmalade and the daily papers delivered to his bedroom. His manservant... > Read more

JOE BONAMASSA INTERVIEWED (2014): The plan is do what you do

JOE BONAMASSA INTERVIEWED (2014): The plan is do what you do

Joe Bonamassa – the 37-year old Grammy nominated blues-rock guitarist considered one of the finest players of his generation – is talking about what he does when he takes a break.... > Read more