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Éthiopiques, Vol. 7: Mahmoud Ahmed (1975)

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This seventh volume in the landmark series of Ethiopian jazz performances is a stunning example of cross-cultural alchemy. We love the organ-heavy R&B sound produced by Mahmoud Ahmed's band. But what really blows our minds is the dose of traditional Amharic musicality woven into these Western motifs, from their circular rhythmic patterns to Ahmed's distinct vocal, sung in the traditional Ethiopian five-note scale. He sounds perfect cooing over grooves like the smooth "Tezeta" and the funky "Belomi Benna".


Born: 18 May 1941 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

In Ethiopia the word is "eskeusta," which roughly translated means ecstasy; more specifically, it is a shaking sensation that begins at one's shoulders, quivering down the spine and into the legs and feet. Of all the great male vocalists that Ethiopia has produced (and there have been quite a few), none is able to create eskeusta better than Mahmoud Ahmed. For over 40 years Mahmoud Ahmed has deftly combined the traditional Amharic music of Ethiopia (essentially a five-note scale that features jazz-style...
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Éthiopiques, Vol. 7: Mahmoud Ahmed (1975), Mahmoud Ahmed
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