Down Beat - 2/00, p.744 out of 5
- "...Pentatonic scales, sweet melodies and irrepressible dance grooves....It's all enticing..."
Dirty Linen - 2-3/00, p.85
"...[his] hypnotic voice shines through. It is a warm instrument, with a deep vibrato, accompanied by a smooth horn section, organ, and drums....very compelling and mesmerizing."
Personnel includes: Mahmoud Ahmed (vocals).
Liner Note Author: Francis Falceto.
Editor: Francis Falceto.
Translator: Karen Albrecht.
Volume six in a series of Ethiopian music from 1969-1978, this album focuses on singer Mahmoud Ahmed. Starting as a shoe shine boy in the busy market streets, Ahmed eventually joined the Imperial Body Guard Band through his job at a ritzy hotel. Instead of the images of bleak landscapes and bloated, starving bodies Ethiopia is often associated with, during the late '60s the country had found liberation. And in this music--which ranges from blues to funk to urban pop--the dances, rich language, and colorful culture flow through like the lush Ethiopian highlands.
This disc follows the route that was being paved almost simultaneously by Afrobeat king Fela Kuti in Nigeria. It mixes traditional Ethiopian beats and rhythms with jazz, blues, and funk. Saxophones, groovy wah-wah guitars, and winding, bounding bass weave in and out of syncopated, driving beats on most songs. The overall tone is complex, yet accented by pleasing moments of bells, chimes and cymbals.