Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Y'Anbessaw Tezeta

by Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex & Friends

While looking for music I'd never come across before in New York this summer, at the excellent store Other Music, I was told to check out Y'anbessaw Tezeta, a two-disc collection of work by Ethiopian jazz artist Getatchew Mekuria and the Ex, an underground punk band from the Netherlands.

It sounds unlikely, but this is an amazing album.  Mekuria sets the tone, as most of the tracks are clear and triumphant ethio-jazz of the style one would expect from a Mulatu Astatke album, although there is a rawness to the album that comes across as a bit of a surprise.

Many of the songs on the first disc are traditional Ethiopian pieces that have been re-imagined for a jazz audience.  The second disc is a little more diverse, as it has some free jazz pieces, and more influence from The Ex.

I cannot recommend this album enough.

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