Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ethiopian Music

Ethiopia’s ethnic diversity has closely been associated with some unique and often indigenous sounds. Ethiopia is a long established and accepted musical country. Ethiopian music has been open to all kinds of music influences, even from the West. The people listen and accept traditional folk music to the latest popular styles. Brass bands also became largely popular during the reign of Haile Selassie. From the 1950’s till the 70’s, Ethiopian music incorporated some of the biggest names in the music industry namely Alemu Aga, Kassa Tessema, Bezunesh Bekele, Mulatu Astatke, Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, Hirut Bekele, Kiros Alemayehu, Tilahun Gessesse and Mary Armede. Leading and well known Ethiopian record labels included Amha Records, Kaifa Records, and Philips-Ethiopia.
However things changed for this famine ridden country by the coming of communist dictator Mengitsu between 1974 and 1991who reduced the people and their culture. Music that was recorded during this time frame gained prominence only after 1991 with the fall of Mengitsu’s regime. Following Mengitsu’s communist restructuring one of them involved the banning of all vinyl recordings of music.
Well known musician Alemayehu Eshete, in support of African freedom fighters composed songs to show his solidarity and support to their cause, which was later on followed by other musical artists such as Dawit Melese, Chachi Tadesse and Zeleke Gessesse. Unfortunately Ethiopia’s entry into the international music scene hasn’t been large. Gigi a prominent Ethiopian singer received international acclaim and soon brought Ethiopian music to popular attention. Bolel a sort of blues-like music has largely been popularized by Tigist Assefa, Tedje and Admassou Abate.
International acclaim came in the form of Reggae and Rastafarianism. Most reggae artists are linked to this sect and the name Rastafarianism comes from Haile Selassie's pre-coronation title and family name. Ziggy Marley’s – Conscious party, spoke about the influence Ethiopia had on reggae. His son the best known reggae artist ever is none other than Bob Marley.
Ethiopian music is culturally rich and diverse and goes back cultures. Ethiopians used a style called qenet which was further broken into four types namely - tezeta, bati, ambassel, and anchihoy. This music comes either in monophonic, polyphonic and heterophonic as well. Musical instruments also fall under various categories.
Chordophones include a one-string bowed lute; the krar, a six-string lyre; and the begena, a large ten-string lyre. Aerophones include a washint; trumpet-like instruments include like malakat, holdudwa, Embilta and fanta, or pan flutes. Idiophones include the senasel which is a sistrum, maqwamiya, dawal and Metal leg rattles. Membranophones include a kebero, nagarit and a Gurage.
Some forms of traditional music were also strongly inclined by Arabic and folk music from different parts of Africa. Christian and other religious associations also played a large role in shaping Ethiopia’s musical heritage. Hence when you hear Ethiopian music you hear hints of music from different lands which is a delight to the ear. Northeastern Ethiopia gave rise to a form of music known as manzuma whereas in the Ethiopian highlands the azmaris gave rise to traditional secular music.

2 comments:

Improvedliving said...

well i love ethipion music


Free Music

PUSHPRAJ RATHOUR said...

I like most Ethiopia music.good!
Thanks