A Rare Treat of Ethio Groove at Lincoln Center

By Tadias Staff

Published: August 5, 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

Related: Legendary Punks The Ex Find New Inspiration in Ethiopia (Chicago Tribune)

5 Responses to “A Rare Treat of Ethio Groove at Lincoln Center”

  1. 1 fasika kebede ayalew Aug 6th, 2008 at 10:06 am

    It is pleasure to see those great Ethiopian legends of music of early 50″s and 60″s. Celebrities like Dr. Tilahun Gesese, Mohamoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete and Getachew Mekuria are icons of this ancient and historical motherland: ETHIOPIA.

    I think this moment will become a great benchmark and footsteps to younger generations to come.

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