Thursday, December 1, 2011

Addis Acoustic Project, "Tewesta (Remembrance)": Ethiopian Pop Classics Unplugged

Anyone who has listened closely to even one volume of the Ethiopiques anthology of local popular music of the '50s and '60s knows how distinctive the style is that is involved. Electric guitarist Girum Mezmur had the good idea of resurrecting some of these song gems for an mostly acoustic group of strings, percussion, drums, bass, accordian, and clarinet. Addis Acoustic Project's Tewesta (Remembrance) (World Village 468091) is the first fruits of this effort and it is in its own way an important coda, addendum and refreshing of the Ethiopiques legacy.

We are treated to 15 songs, some as instrumentals, some with added vocals, all worthy material for the sheer pleasure of experiencing the characteristic melodic flourishes and interesting timbre combinations.

If you appreciated Ethiopiques you will undoubtedly get equal enjoyment from this updated take on the tradition. The album can be enjoyed, however, whether you know Ethiopiques well or not at all. Recommended.

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