Minyeshu: Daa Dee (ARC Music)

 |   |  1 min read

Geletuma/Thank You
Minyeshu: Daa Dee (ARC Music)
Bridging the Ethiopian jazz of her homeland, sweeping orchestrated jazz-funk, world music and nostalgic ballads (as on the piano-based title track here), this expressive singer has become a fixture on the European festival circuit alongside the likes of Youssou N'Dour, Salif Keita, Angelique Kidjo, Baba Maal and other big names in world music/mainstream crossover.

Now based in the Netherlands (after time in Belgium where she moved after touring with Ethiopia's People to People ensemble) and here on her fourth album, Minyeshu Kifle Tedla benefits from a smart but not too slick production .

It brings out the blend of traditional instruments and backing vocalists alongside horns, piano, bass and drums on 13 songs which are catchy (Hailo Gaja/Let's Dance, the lightly funky Yeselam Ayer/Peaceful Air, the punchy Temesgen/Grateful), emotionally engaging (the thoughtful and yearning Yetal/Where Is It?/ about the search for place when the heart yearns for home) or gently persuasive (Enchet Lekema/Collecting Wood).

It might err a little towards MOR on Yachi Elet/That Moment but her strong singing and the touch of traditional instruments bring it home with a subtle exotica.

She may well be best appreciated at a Womad where this would come to full and colourful life but these diverse songs, her passionate vocals and the arrangements make this – despite the obvious language barrier – very welcome . . . and certainly one for those who have discovered horn-driven Ethiopian jazz in the past decade or so.

The advance copy Elsewhere did not have the booklet of the Ethiopian lyrics and in English translation but the songs speak of celebration, hard time, loss, love and freedom. Available from ARC Music

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various: Musica Negra in the Americas (Network/Soutbound)

Various: Musica Negra in the Americas (Network/Soutbound)

Some years ago the estimable Network label released the groundbreaking Desert Blues collection of music from the Sahara region, a superb double disc in a beautiful and informative long-form... > Read more

Various: Planet Rock (Rough Guide/Elite)

Various: Planet Rock (Rough Guide/Elite)

World Music compilations are often pretty dodgy affairs and this one is no exception. So I'm not really suggesting you might want an album that starts in a place where Cambodia psychedelic rock... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Gorillaz: Plastic Beach (EMI CD/DVD)

Gorillaz: Plastic Beach (EMI CD/DVD)

Gorillaz aren't the first to make "world music" of no fixed cultural abode (Elsewhere has noted 1 Giant Leap and the Laya Project among others) -- but there is something so diverse yet... > Read more

Magazine: Real Life (1978)

Magazine: Real Life (1978)

If there was a godfather of the Manchester scene in the Eighties there's a good case to be made that it wasn't Tony Wilson (who founded the Hacienda and Factory Records) but that it was Howard... > Read more