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Monday 21 December 2009

Wolde Music

Yesterday we were in Western Sahara. Today we head south-east, through Mauritania and CHAD among other places, to Ethiopia.

Last week I picked up a cracking CD for a couple of quid at Spitalfields market. It is by Techome Wolde & The Ethio-Stars called "The Ethiopian Soul Revue". A live album recorded in London, it was released in 1996. It is very much in the style of Alemayu Eshete, Mahmoud Ahmed and others you may be familar with from the Ethiopiques series.

According to the sleeve notes, Techome Wolde first came to prominence through his performances at the Addis Ababa City Hall Theatre in the mid-1970s, and released his first cassette in Ethiopia in 1981. "The Ethiopian Soul Revue" was apparently his first CD.

Mr Wolde is backed by the Ethio-Stars, formed in 1981 by trumpeter Shimeles Beyene. They started as a "slick dance band playing in clubs and hotels during the Mengistu regime's dusk to dawn curfews in Addis Ababa", and went on to back many of Ethiopia's most famous singers, including Mahmoud Ahmed.

They make an excellent team. To quote from the sleeve notes again, "the resulting mesh creates a pulsating energy and full-blooded sound that harks back to the golden age of Ethiopian music of the 1970s". Here are a couple of examples:

"Sema Eda Agebachign" (Ever Since We Kissed I'm Addicted To Her Love)

"Aweyo" (Thank You My Girl)

My favourite title on the album is "Yehegerie Lidge Bale Gamie", which translates as "From your hairstyle I know you're from Gojjam". Round here they make similar remarks about girls from Chigwell.

Here is Techome in action. I have no idea if that is the Ethio-Stars backing him.


  1. Coming from someone responsible for one of the blogs that inspired me to start this thing that is a great compliment - thanks. The rest of you should head over to For The Sake Of The Song - - to see what a proper blog looks like.