Golden Era: Éthiopiques Coming to America

Above: Getatchew Mekurya. Lincoln Center Out of Doors
presents some of Ethiopia’s most celebrated musicians in collaboration
with western Jazz and Rock artists. Mahmoud Ahmed and Alèmayèhu
Eshèté perform with The Either/Orchestra. Wednesday, August 20, 6-10PM.
Damrosch Park Bandshell. © Photos col. ETHIOPIQU Amicalement.

Extra Golden: Mahmoud Ahmed and Alèmayèhu Eshèté with The Either/Orchestra
Getatchew Mekurya with The Ex

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Alèmayèhu Eshèté

Published: Friday, June 27, 2008

New York —The 38th season of Lincoln Center Out of Doors—one of the longest-running free summer festivals in the U.S.—opens on August 7 and will run until August 24 in Damrosch Park and the South Plaza of Lincoln Center. Among the exciting events scheduled is a concert on August 20, beginning at 6 p.m., featuring some of Africa’s most noted musical artists: Ethiopia’s Mahmoud Ahmed and Alèmayèhu Eshèté with The Either/Orchestra and legendary saxophonist Getatchew Mekurya joining forces with Dutch band The Ex.

Mahmoud Ahmed and Alèmayèhu Eshèté with The Either/Orchestra (New York debut)
One of the most beloved singers of Ethiopia’s “golden era” of the late 60s and early 70s, Mahmoud Ahmed’s brassy, electric urban pop is swinging and hypnotic, heart-rending and funky.

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Mahmoud Ahmed. © Photos col. ETHIOPIQU Amicalement

A true Ethiopian legend, Alèmayèhu Eshèté is often described as the “Ethiopian James Brown,” or “Abyssinian Elvis,” thanks to his wild and electrifying stage performances. The ten-piece Either/Orchestra, founded in 1985 by saxophonist/composer Russ Gershon, has earned a reputation for its fearless repertoire, top-shelf ensemble play, highly talented soloists and boundless desire to connect with audiences. In 2004 the E/O became the first US big band to perform in Ethiopia since Duke Ellington’s in 1973. Their Ethiopiques: Live in Addis concert and CD began a series of collaborations with the top names in Ethiopian music, reviving and updating the classic Ethiopian groove of the 60s and 70s, most recently featured on a new DVD of a collaboration with Mahmoud Ahmed.

Gétatchèw Mèkurya with The Ex (New York debut)
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Celebrated Ethiopian saxophonist Gétatchèw Mèkurya makes his New York debut
with Dutch avant-punk band The Ex on Wednesday, August 20, 6-10 PM. Damrosch
Park Bandshell.

Gétatchèw Mèkurya, the King of Ethiopian saxophone, is a real giant, both physically and musically. Seventy three years old, but still in full voice, with his own powerfully distinctive style of playing, he is the inventor of a musical style called the Shellela, which originates from a heroic war chant, translated to the saxophone.

The Ex, Holland’s legendary avant-improv-world-punkband, has been crossing borders for more than 28 years. Discordant, highly rhythmic guitars and the rolling, almost African drumming style give The Ex’s music its special character. After touring Ethiopia twice, in 2004 The Ex celebrated their 25th musical anniversary and invited Gétatchèw to join them in the Netherlands. The resultant pairing, featured on their new DVD, is both thrilling and unique: Gétatchèw’s melodies and solos mesh with The Ex’s rhythm, noise and vocals, supported by a guest horn section, like they were made for each other.

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THE CONCERT IS FREE and TAKES PLACE AT LINCOLN CENTER’S DAMROSCH PARK BANDSHELL, West 62nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue; easy access via the No. 1 IRT (66th Street Station) and A, B, C, D and No. 1 trains at 59th St/Columbus Circle.

1 Response to “Golden Era: Éthiopiques Coming to America”


  1. 1 Ethiopia: Another Nation Under a Groove at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Jul 18th, 2008 at 1:11 pm
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