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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Soul of Ethiopia

Although he is still completely unknown to Western audiences, for Ethiopians Tlahoun Gèssèssè is THE VOICE.....Tlahoun is the absolute and unequaled icon for an entire country, rising above its ethnic or linguistic divides.

From the liner notes of Volume 17 of Buda Musique's Ethiopiques....a CD that grabbed my attention from the first cut and never let go. Gèssèssè's smooth vocals are backed by a smokin' little Seventies soul brass ensemble, resulting a sound that, for me, was simultaneously familiar yet exotic. Despite (or because of) his widespread popularity, the thinly disguised political messages of his songs landed him in jail during a failed coup attempt in Ethiopia in 1960. Follow this link to two downloads and a live performance video.