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Thursday, Nov 19 2015 | 09:06
Image: 1600953 Out Of Addis is a compilation of Ethiopian music, recorded over the last few years. The excellent krar is the instrument that dominates here, switching easily between lead and rhythm roles. Mixed by Nick Manasseh in the UK with the specific intention of making these tunes dancefloor friendly.

'Out of Addis' presents a selection of contemporary recordings from Ethiopia. The Horn of Africa nation is most often associated with the famous Ethio-Funk sounds produced during the latter years of the Imperial era, which lasted until 1974. But in this defiant culture, Ethiopia was the only African state never to be colonised by Western powers - the golden age for music never ended, despite decades of war and social upheaval.

Ethiopia has over 80 ethnic groups, each with its own deep-rooted language and culture.

Contemporary musicians living outside Addis Abeba, the capital, have had few opportunities to record or play their mesmerising sounds for visitors. Sheba Sound, a label and sound system collective based in Addis, wanted to redress this by recording and releasing little-known classics to Ethiopian and foreign audiences. Ethiopia is a vast and mostly rural country, which could be why a collection of this breadth has rarely been achieved. This album is the product of more than six years of music digging, road trips, recordings and events, from the northern rocky expanses of Tigray to the central forested highlands of Oromia to the western sweltering grasslands of Gambella.

The thread binding the album together is the krar, a string instrument like a cross between a guitar and a harp. In live performances the krar is played repetitively, locking down the rhythm, allowing for songs to build along with the festivities. This album showcases northern-based rhythms such as the Tigray, Amhara and Gurage beat. The song 'Mal Ameni' distinguishes itself by coming from the Oromo people, who are the largest ethnic group based further south, who also have their own specific rhythm.

This music touches the tip of the iceberg of what is happening right now in Ethiopia. There are so many more unique, intoxicating sounds to be shared, testifying to the diversity that lives on.

After these recordings were finished, the mixing and mastering was done in the U.K. This added weight and depth to the originals, giving organic sounds a modern twist so they can be played at dance-floors and bars.


Side A:
1. Ali New Biye - Hanna Mekonnen
2. Kulewa - Mulugeta Bezaw
3. Kule - Berhe Raza
4. Eybelundey Eybelu - Woliyu Dutamu
5. Gumaye - Adhanet Equar
6. Gubiliye - Habtamu Assefa
Side B:
1. Bire Dama - Yeaynne Abeba Nigus
2. Mal Ameni - Abduletif Jemal
3. Melka-A Weyno - Berhanu Haileselassie
4. Yisare Hinena - Nebiyu Hamdi
5. Woyniye Weynu - Kifle Mebrahtu Available from 11.12.2015
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