MUSIC: Ethiopia
Ethiopian Urban and Tribal Music, vol. 1
My rating:

Ethiopia contains many diverse peoples and many styles of music. It was still an Empire in July and August 1971 when these recordings were made. Over 70 languages and 200 dialects are spoken in Ethiopia, representing the existence of as many ethnic groups.

Ethiopian Urban and Tribal Music, vol. 2
My rating:

The urban musicians, the bagana and Mary Armeede were recorded in Addis Ababa. Ethiopian urban musicians come from many parts of the country and are familiar with and adapt the styles of regions other than their own.

The Rough Guide to the Music of Ethiopia
Various Artists

Compiled by Francis Falceto, who also put together the fantastic Ethiopiques series, these 15 tracks are culled from that collection and other single-artist releases to present a broad array of Ethiopian music, much of it recorded before 1974.

The Sounds of Contemporary Ethiopian Music - Millennium Collection
Various Artists

This album offers world music lovers a glimpse into the heart of Ethiopian music. Ethiopia's most influential singers have joined with their country's leading musicians to bring you this collection of their greatest recordings.

Various Artists

This is a series of albums that show the modern music from Ethiopia through out the years. (23 CDs)

Tizita - Vol 1 and 2
Mahmoud Ahmed

Born in Addis Ababa, Mahmoud shined shoes in that city before becoming a handyman at the Arizona Club, where he first sang professionally in the early 1960s. He sang for the Imperial Body Guard Band until 1974, and recorded with other bands for the Amha and Kaifa record labels throughout the 1970s. He opened his own music store in Addis Ababa's Piazza district during the 1980s while he continued his singing career.


Gigi's Amharic lyrics might not be readily understood by American ears, but her seductive tones are warm enough to translate into any language. Despite its studio gloss and sometime ambient excursions, the record was made by real, live musicians, giving it a richness and depth.

Aster Aweke

Sometimes referred to as “Ethiopia's Aretha Franklin”, Aster Aweke is an Ethiopian singer who lives in the United States. Aweke's distinct style has been influenced by other Ethiopian singers such as Bizunesh Bekele. In 1997 she performed in Addis Ababa for a crowd of over 50,000 people.

Sleeping in the Market: Ethiopian Music & Sounds from Amhara
Various Artists

Sleeping In The Market is an example of field recordings at their finest. Recorded by Yayehe Smon, this is a cultural examination of Ethiopia, specifically Amhara and Addis Ababa, through the sounds of the people. For simple field recordings, the quality is astonishingly clear. Many of the songs sound improvised and are a cappella, or accompanied only with flute, percussion and what sounds like accordion and violin. Some of the pieces to be found on Sleeping In The Market include a blind beggar performing a traditional song on flute, a group of children singing in the streets and songs about love and work.

Indigo Sun

Henock Temesgen and Abegasu Shiota formed ADMAS (which means "HORIZON" in Amharic) in Washington, DC in 1984. ADMAS, initially a backup band, went on to compose, arrange and produce music for most Ethiopian Artists working in the U.S., Europe and Ethiopia. They believe their music is reflective of today's world, where globalization is defying geographic boundaries.

Hana Shenkute

This, Hanas debut album, displays AITs exciting young artist at her best. Backed by the popular Admas Band, it is easy to see why many people believe she will be the future star of Ethiopian music.

Tesfaye: A Future Hope - Vocal & String Music of Ethiopia
Seleshe Damessae

Accompanying himself on the krar — a six-string lyre with origins dating back to the ancient civilizations of the Nile — Seleshe delivers the powerful Tesfaye, a record perhaps most notable for its complex vocal performances sung in Amharic.

Ethio Jazz Vol. 1
Mulatu Astatke

Mulatu Astatke is an innovative multi-talented musician born in Jimma, Ethiopia. He is a composer, arranger and the founder of Ethio Jazz. As a vibraphone, conga and percussion player, he has performed at numerous concerts in Ethiopia and abroad, including appearances at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Lincoln Center in New York.

Theodros Kassahun

One of the most versatile and exciting singers ever to grace the Ethiopian musical landscape, Theodros Kassahun began his professional career singing with the Express Band and has worked with the Axuite Band, in addition to being a founding member of the AfroSound Band. A talented singer, he also writes music and lyrics for himself and other artists.

Woretaw Wubet

Woretaw Wubet, a phenomenal Ethiopian vocalist and Masinko player, has been performing music since he was 14 years old. Ethiopia is Woretaw's sixth recording and his third solo effort. In this recording, Woretaw blends the Masinko with keyboards to give it a unique contemporary flavor.

Traditional Favorites

Temesgen is an Ethiopian musician living in the United States. He was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and has been playing the begena and the kirar since 1990. A versatile singer-songwriter, Temesgen plays the traditional music of Ethiopia as well as ethno-fusion. His non-traditional work combines elements of Ethiopian music, reggae, Indian music, and blues.

In search of my roots
Abiyou Solomon

This one-of-a-kind recording truly captures the soul and spirit of eight distinct Ethiopian tribes. The traditional songs and harmonized sounds demonstrate the beauty and diversity of the Ethiopian people, comprised of many tribes that live in peace.

Ende Kale
Eyob Mekonen
My rating:

Great album of modern Ethiopian music with reggae rhythms. Eyob Mekonen considers Bob Marley as his main influence.

Ethiopian Liturgy

This is a rare recording in that it is the only cd available in the English-speaking world that contains an audio recording of the Ethiopian Divine Liturgy service.The Ethiopian liturgy is one of the oldest Christian liturgies in the world, and the only in sub-Saharan Africa. Sang in Geez, this beautiful liturgy is absolutely breathtaking and unlike any other Christian music, or any other African folk music in general.