This recording stems from a Paris concert in 1994 by one of Ethiopia's brighter stars. Mahmoud Ahmed provides a large lump of powerful vocals over the top of a vaguely urban jazz/Afro-beat backing texture. The intensity of the music is something to rival the Africa 70 or Egypt 80, with a pair of sax players dominating the proceedings. Ahmed's vocals, though, are the true star of the show, with the voice carrying over the top of all matters and providing an outlet for various love songs and melancholy pieces, with the spare festival song thrown in for good measure. The music of Ethiopia is generally not the upbeat soukous that people have come to expect from African musicians, but this recording is another iteration of such a trend. The music is in many parts the complete opposite of upbeat, and at its highest moments is still a distance behind soukous in that respect. In terms of emotionality and regality, it tends more to the side of religious and semi-religious musics (notably Indian classical). Pick it up for a nice look into the music of Ethiopia, though there are others available at roughly the same quality level.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg