Ethiopiques Volume 26
“An authentic legend in Ethiopia, Mahmoud Ahmed has set the bases of a truly original musical style in that he synthesizes the most diverse influences into a language both typical and universal. With his haunting, husky and velvety voice that rises up in wild spirals, Mahmoud Ahmed has invented a world of uncertain borders, an unlikely mix of East-African rhythmic turns, mysterious melodies with refined ornamentation and surprising Indian inflections, all this streaked with electric sounds, pulsating with hot swinging groove, and going to and from between swing and funk with strange incursions into reggae music. A highly exhilarating clutter!” Les Inrocks (adapted from) Presented in chronological order, this collection features many masterpieces owing to not only Mahmoud Ahmed’s vocal grace, but also incredibly sophisticated arrangements. This is one of the most striking and successful outcomes of the emulation between the great official bands of that time. For instance, the present reading of “Tezeta”, which might well be the most colourful version ever recorded by Mahmoud Ahmed, brings to mind the cheerful funeral marching bands of New Orleans.