A Rare Treat to Ethiopian Groove at Lincoln Center

By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 3, 2008

New York (Tadias) — Among some of the most exciting out-door music events scheduled in New York this summer, is a concert on August 20th, featuring Ethiopia’s most noted musical artists: Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete and the legendary saxophonist Getatchew Mekurya.

The artists burst forth into the Ethiopian music scence in the 1960s, during a time of prolific music recording in Addis Ababa, where the nightlife and club scene was buzzing with live Afro-pop, Swing and Blues riviling those in Paris and New York.

But the fun was short lived. In the mid 1970′s the rise to power of Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile-Mariam ushered in a dark age, which halted Addis Ababa’s flourishing music scene and severly curtailed the record music industry.

“Mengistu was well-versed in the Ethiopian tradition of song lyrics that are double entendres speaking to romantic and political themes, so he set about silencing the Ethiopian Swing”, penned writer Michael A. Edwards in an article entiltled Nubian Sunrise in Jazz Times Magazine, the world’s leading Jazz publication. “Curfew brought the Capital to a viritual stand still…jailed, discredited and otherwise harrased, many of the musicians went into exile and the sun set on swinging Addis.”

The Swinging Sixties: The Police Band strut their stuff in 1965/6. (Time.com)

The sun has risen again for Ethiopian music and it has re-emerged in the international scene under a new name: Ethiopiques, which refres to a stunning CD series containing a treasure trove of Ethipian sounds from the 1960′s and ’70s.

And on August 20th, beginning at 6 p.m, at the 38th season of the Lincoln Center’s out of
doors concert, one of the longest-running free summer festivals in the U.S, New Yorkers will
be treated to the groove of “Nubian Sunrise”.

You can learn more about the event at Lincolncenter.org

1 Response to “A Rare Treat to Ethiopian Groove at Lincoln Center”

  1. 1 danny Aug 4th, 2008 at 8:24 am

    I am particularly excited about Getatchew Mekuria and the Ex! This will be Getatchew’s first time in the U.S. and judging from what I saw of his performances two months ago in France and Switzerland with the Ex, he’ll be sure to deliver a great show. For those of you who can’t make the NYC performance, never fear — Getatchew may still be coming to a city near you! Here’s their complete schedule:

    08/13 Washington, DC. The Black Cat
    08/14 Baltimore, MD. Ottobar
    08/15 Boston, MA. The Middle East
    08/17 Chicago, IL. Logan Square Auditorium
    08/18 Chicago, IL. Millennium Park
    08/20 New York, NY. Lincoln Centre ‘Out of Doors’, Damrosch Park Bandshell


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