Note: This post was updated on December 30, 2008 and January 19, 2009.
Get ready for another blast of raw, uncompromising Ethiopian funk, courtesy of our friend Tilahun Gessesse. Etu Gela, issued in the early '80s by Ambassel Music Shop, finds the master in great form. The Ethiopian Army's First Division Band accompany him, and they really wail!
Duplicated under the difficult conditions of Derg-era Ethiopia, the sound quality of Etu Gela is not up to contemporary standards. While I was able to remove a considerable amount of audio debris with sound restoration software, I couldn't do anything about a few irritating passages of static during track 5, "Yager Lij Neyilign." Just consider it part of your authentic Ethiopian listening experience!
Many thanks to the anonymous reader/listener who corrected my transliteration of the titles and provided translations and commentary.
"Etu Gela" is an old-fashioned term of endearment for a woman. Hear another version of this song by Alemayehu Eshete here:
Tilahun Gessesse - Etu Gela
"Wejin Ola" is an Oromiffa song. Translation unavailable:
Tilahun Gessesse - Wejin Ola
"Akal Ayenshin" means "My sweet, your eyes":
Tilahun Gessesse - Akal Ayneshin
"Yigermal" means "It's surprising" or "It's astonishing":
Tilahun Gessesse - Yigermal
"Yager Lij Neyelign" translates as "Come to me my countrywoman":
Tilahun Gessesse - Yager Lij Neyelign
"Tirse Beredo Nat" means "What an amazing smile she has," although literally it compliments the whiteness of her teeth. The equivalent in Engilsh would be "The Smile":
Tilahun Gessesse - Tirse Beredo Nat
"Bene Des Yibelish" = "Be happy with me":
Tilahun Gessesse - Bene Des Yibelish
"Siwedish" = "When I love you":
Tilahun Gessesse - Siwedish
"You're always on my mind," although "Astawisishalehu" literally means "I remember you," that's not the sense of the song:
Tilahun Gessesse - Astawisishalehu
"Yachatina" means "There she is." This song is quite memorable because it had one of the very first real Ethiopian music videos. The song is about him looking for a girl he fell in love with in the past, and he is looking for her all over Addis. The video is thus of Tilahun walking and driving across Addis looking for her. . .:
Tilahun Gessesse - Yachatina