Showing posts with label rare ethiopian sigles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rare ethiopian sigles. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

v.a. - Mitmitta Musika [ethiopia]

         Entire contet of this page is taken from Tumblr webpage of guy named DJ Mitmitta, or Kidus Berhanu or Vemund Hareide as he is titled in his Norwegian passport, and this blog post (from december 2013).

           He is true archaelogist of ethiopian vinyl and cassette releases and his devotion to rare ethiopian music is unique.

DJ Mitmitta

Curiosity and frustration can take you far. It has for Kidus Berhanu. Better known as DJ Mitmitta or Vemund Hareide as he is titled in his Norwegian passport, these virtues have taken him all the way from Oslo to the Ethiopian countryside. For Kidus, it all started with a frustration with the uniformity of Western music. A frustration that fed his curiosity to discover the yet undiscovered musical treasures of Ethiopia and led to a commitment to archive and spread the joy of Ethiopian music. This has since materialized in countless travels across the country to collect cassettes with traditional Ethiopian music and the Ethiojazz of the 60s and 70s, and in the founding of Mitmitta Music Shop in 2010 (The shop is currently closed but Kidus is hoping to reopen in a few months at a new location in town.)

This is a journey not unlike others. Awesome Tapes’ Brian Shimkovitz, Sahels Sounds’ Christopher Kirkley and labels such as Soundway, Analog Africa and Sublime Frequencies have embarked on similar voyages. But what distinguish the musical odyssey of Kidus is not only its East African focus. It is also its material character and the focus on the local market opposed to international distribution. For Kidus, the modus operandi has not been spreading the music through a blog nor through reissuing old vinyl records. Not yet. The approach has instead been one of collecting, cataloguing and digitalizing.

The Archaeology of Cassettes 

More than anything, Kidus’ project is an endeavor into musical archaeology and ethnography. And it’s a project focused on and redeemed through tapes (his cassette collection now numbers more than a thousand different Ethiopian tapes). As he explains: “Vinyl is hyped. And tapes are still a popular format. In Ethiopia, a lot of the good old music was never issued on vinyl or on CD.”  However, the predominance of cassettes also makes Kidus’ point to one of several caveats in the music industry and to an irony in his own project. Because while the cassette is his preferred format, it was exactly the spread of the cassette in the late 70’s and onwards that exterminated numerous record labels in Ethiopia and on the rest of continent and gave way for cheaper productions and musicians being replaced by a single synthesizer.

In Ethiopia, the record producers and music shop owners could buy one master tape and then easily duplicate this via cheap blank tapes. An early form of musical piracy that resulted in low quality recordings, unduly low prices and a situation where great Ethiopian artists such as Tilahun Gessesse or Mahmoud Ahmed received only a one-off payment and no benefits of potential future distributions. This however can possibly change with the introduction of a new copyright law in Ethiopia in 2010 that led to many music-shop owners being jailed for copying music for piracy purposes.

Ethiopian Music as off-limit for Ethiopians

Another and somewhat bizarre consequence of the functioning of the Ethiopian music industry prior to the 2010 copyright legislation is that today only very few Ethiopians have access to legal copies of the old Ethiopian recordings. Alemayehu Eshete, Muluken Mellese, Getachew Kassa and other of the artist that have become globally renowned through the Ethiopiques series are simply not legally accessible for the majority of Ethiopians.

Kidus is hoping this will change. He spends lots of time nagging the distributors to re-distribute their old releases, trying to convince them that these records will sell again. The problem is often that the covers are out of print and to make it profitable for distributors they would need to reprint at least 1-2000 covers. But his mission of making Ethiopian music available for both the foreign and the Ethiopian music audience does not stop here. He will soon be releasing a recording of Amharic wedding music from 1973 on both cassette AND vinyl. At the same time he dreams of expanding the geographical focus of his work by collecting, sustaining and distributing old Eritrean, Somali and Sudanese music.

Aster Aweke & Wubishet Fisseha

The Regionalization of Ethiopian music

While music from the rest of Africa has a strong appeal to Kidus, there is and will probably never be something quite like the tunes of Ethiopia for him. After spending part of his childhood in Ethiopia, he returned to Addis briefly as a teenager. The past few years he has spent travelling back and forth between Norway and Ethiopia, between studies, work and cassette hunting. He now spends most of his time in Ethiopia and is fluent in Amharic, the official Ethiopian language. His fascination of Ethiopian music has several roots, as he describes: “The Ethiopians really value their music and even today Ethiopian music is closely linked to the cultural traditions of the country. In addition, the great variation in the music of Ethiopia’s different regions really appeals to me.”

The vast regional difference in Ethiopian musical tradition is something that also poses a challenge to his ethno-musical investigations. The best music of Tigray or Oromiya is not found in Addis but in the music shops in provincial Ethiopia. Kidus highlights the Tzeta music shop in Dessie and the Negarit shop in Dire Dawa as the best music shops outside and the places to find respectively old Tigray, Amhara and Oromo music. He further explains the initial reception of the old music shop owners when a young pale Scandinavian walks into their domain and asks for cassettes with old – and for many Ethiopian also forgotten – artists: “At first they are quite suspicious. But quickly suspicion turns into excitement and appreciation. Mutual appreciation of and gratitude for a joint effort to preserve an important heritage.” 

The Faranji Connoisseur

Many of these grand old men of Ethiopian music – collectors, producers and music shop owners – have since become close friends of Kidus. And Kidus himself has become a renowned connoisseur of Ethiopian music. The go-to-guy for advice and expertise on the music and the music scene of Ethiopia. A position very few faranjis (meaning foreigners in Amharic) can credibly claim. And not an easy position to achieve taking into consideration the relative isolation of Ethiopia and its music during the past century. Nevertheless, Kidus still sees himself as a foreigner in Ethiopia and its music industry and he is aware of the challenges that this poses to him.

Although the emphasis in Kidus’ efforts has mainly on the Ethiopian artists of the past, he has also witnessed on first-hand the changes in the contemporary music scene in Addis (link to Jazzamba article). Changes of both the encouraging and less positive kind. The revival of Ethiojazz has led to an explosion of live music in Addis the last few years: “All clubs want their own band now and there is a lot of talent out there, which is good. Unfortunately, many of the new bands are afraid of experimenting. This is also the case for many of the European or American bands that have started playing Ethiojazz. Many of them are simply trying to copy the success of Mulatu Astatke.” 

Umar Suleeyman

        There are of course exemptions to this trend and Kidus points to the Nubian Arc as one of the most experimental and forward-looking bands around (see further recommendations from Kidus below).

       Kidus concludes by highlighting a more remarkable effect of the renewed interest in Ethiopian music. According to Kidus the new golden era of Ethiopian music has substantially changed the image of Ethiopia and provided the outside world with a new impression of what Ethiopia is in cultural terms. And Kidus is here to make sure that the insight of foreigners and Ethiopians into the unique musical treasures of Ethiopia will grow and proliferate for years to come.

01 - Aster Aweke & Wubishet Fisseha - Gum Gum (7:11)
02 - Teferra Kassa (3:47)
03 - Frew Hailu (4:15)
04 - Mullumebet Mishel (3:49)
05 - Muhammed Awel (8:24)
06 - Ali Mohammed Birra - Siwaamu Hin Awwaattu (5:09)
07 - Ali Mohammed Birra - Hammalelee Acoustic (5:44)
08 - Aster Aweke - Ante Ledj (8:10)
09 - Umar Suleeyman (5:06)
10 - Ayalew Mesfin (3:20)
11 - Muluken Melese (7:28)
12 - Besrat Hailu & Itiyopia Girma Mariam with 
        Eritrea Police Orchestra - Ashagedaw (4:22)
13 - Ali Shebo (6:32)
14 - Abetew Kebede - Chimchim Gonna (5:23)
15 - Umar Suleeyman - Bilisumma (4:37)
16 - Ali Mohammed Birra - Yaboontuu (5:24)
17 - Halo Dawe - Yashola Leki (5:39)
18 - Umar Alii Faarah - Loshee Intala (5:02)
19 - Omar Souleyman (7:22)
20 - Cut Chemist - Adidas to Addis (2:53)
21 - Cut Chemist - Track 2 (9:26)
22 - Brothers Stereo Jigjiga - Hadagan Nimcooy (6:25)
23 - Umar Alii Faarah - Ajaba Bontuu Oromo (5:14)
24 - Alemayehu Eshete (5:29)
25 - Wollo Lalibela Kinet (3:27)
26 - Osman Sayem aka. EthioJazz - Kelemwa (0:53)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

AE 320 Alemayehu Eshete - [1971] - Addis Ababa Bete - Alteleyeshignim 7'' [wav] [ethiopia]

Dear readers,

         By now you have probably got used to the irregularities of the blog postings which reflect my personal interests in the different genres of Ethiopian music.  Working on this blog gives me immense pleasure.  I doubt that I would invest so much effort and care in collecting material for myself only. With you, my followers in mind, I aim to present the material concisely, clearly and informatively.

          In the blog posts I have tried to cover, as far as possible, a wide and diverse selection that I have come across. I have been quite busy lately with my everyday commitments, so I have not had enough time to update the blog with new postings, and there are quite a few of those. Their time will come, if you are patient.

        With this post I am starting a short series of rare and interesting singles released in Ethiopia during the 60s and 70s. It is very difficult to find information about the music of the time, which is why I would welcome your help. My job is made more difficult by the fact that I do not speak either Amharic, or any other of the Ethiopian languages. Therefore I apologise in advance for my frequent mistaken and sometimes plain incorrect, album titles.

        In terms of the next dozen posts or so, I owe a debt of gratitude to my online friend Richard (*Richardpoespoes) from Holland. He obtained, digitalised and cleaned up the cracklings and noise from the records.

     All the recordings have been transferred to the highest quality windows audio wave format [wav].

Enjoy and stay in touch.

      I would particularly welcome the links for the albums and authors you have that you feel belong on this blog. Some of you have sent me brilliant rare albums and recordings , some of which I have shared, and some are yet to be shared.

       My musical adventure is in its fourth year. I did not anticipate such a huge response and number of visits. I am happy that you like the posts and contact me with words of approval and support. I would not have lasted this long without your support.

     Contact me and I would welcome your suggestions. Each one of your comments means a lot. 



Alemayehu Eshete - Alteleyeshignim [Live at Jazzamba]

ALEMAYEHU ESHETE: Addis Ababa Bete / Alteleyeshignim

Amha AE 320 A

Alemayehu Eshete: Addis Ababa Bete 
Arranged by Girma Beyene 
Accompanied by the All Star Band
Produced by Amaha Eshete 
Reissued on 'éthiopiques-9: Alèmayèhu Eshèté 1969-1974', (Buda Musique, France) as "Addis Abèba bété".

Amha AE 320 B
Alemayehu Eshete: Alteleyeshignim
Arranged by Girma Beyene 
Accompanied by the All Star Band
Produced by Amaha Eshete
Reissued on 'éthiopiques-10: Ethiopian Blues & Ballads', (Buda Musique, France) as "Altèlèyèshegnem".

Year: 1971 
Record pressed in India

Note: Addis Ababa Bete is spelled 'Addis Abeba Bete' on the label.