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Ethiopiques Volume 29


Kassa (1927-1973) belongs to the long tradition of melancholy raconteurs with a decided gift of gab. The unique embrace of his deep voice heightens the emotion generated by the hum of his lyrics. For Ethiopians he is, along with such other great post-war voices as Assèfa Abatè, Fréw Haylou, Asnaqètch Wèrqu or Kètèma Mèkonnen, a perfect example of the culture of the word: poetry and freedom of expression, wit and impressive verve that hits the mark, quiet vehemence and merciless loquacity, lovelorn despair and self-deprecation. It must be underscored –to invoke some notion of a virtual scale of values– without exaggerating that there is a certain similarity between Ethiopians’ perception of Kassa Tèssèma’s “music” and the rapture that Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou’s piano playing (Ethiopiques 21) inspires in non-Ethiopian audiences. Each in his own way, both these artists are able to captivate their listeners. Music that demands to be listened to. + simultaneous release of a double LP with original artwork, by Heavenly Sweetness