44 snippets of tunes by one of ethopia’s most legendary musicians, muluken melese. all of these tracks, and all of his music in general, was recorded between 1972 and 1976; in the beginning of the following decade, he joined the pentecostal church and became extremely involved with that, denouncing his former craft and staying in ethiopia despite his band moving to the US. he’s since moved to washington DC, and travels around extensively, but his global tours now are only for the sake of evangelism. not a particularly happy ending, from my perspective. fortunately though, beloved recordings like this were saved forever, and it’s clear from the youtube comments that his relatively brief five-year period of musical creation touched the lives of many ethiopians and other music lovers across the world.
if you scroll down to the bottom of this list of videos, you can find a really extensive list of ethiopian music compilations. the poster mentioned somewhere that melese was his personal favorite. ethiopian funk/jazz is legit as hell, often featuring shifty and dextrous horn parts ornamented by eastern-sounding amharic lyrics. what i’ve heard generally sounds like a combination of american jazz, soul, and old-school r&b, west african folk, the entrancing blues of the saharan and sahel regions, and music from the middle east and india. understandably, this fusion sound entails an ethiopian sound distinctly its own; being that ethiopia was one of the only african countries to successfully resist the european so-called ‘scramble for africa’ of the late 19th century (liberia being the other one), it’s appropriate that their modern music, while bearing some traces of the styles of other cultures, exists and thrives based on its own merit.