Mahmoud Ahmed

Ethiopiques, Vol. 7: Erè Mèla Mèla

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Recording in the '70s in Addis Ababa, Ahmed mixed R&B with hypnotic Eastern vocal lines to create a most unusual style. At first the music seems familiar, with a lineup of guitar, bass, drums, and organ sounding like an ersatz Booker T and the MG's. But when Ahmed's keening, confounding voice joins in, listeners find themselves in new territory. The music is worthwhile just for its unsettling quality on Western ears.

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