Saturday, February 27, 2010

An Ethiopian Pearl




I suspect Mahmoud Ahmed needs no introduction here - he's arguably Ethiopia's best-known musician thanks to his momentous recording Era Mela Mela and other classics. He continues to tour internationally and record music at a prolific rate. Previously I posted his 1992 cassette Live in Addis Ababa. Here's Tezzetta Enqu (Ethio Music Shop), another one from 1991 or 1992. Although the cassette states 1984 as the issue date, I believe that is according to the Ethiopian calendar.

Andreas Wetter of Humboldt University in Berlin has very kindly transliterated the Ge'ez liner notes for us. Andreas writes, ". . .
I tried to translate them but some of the translations may be too literal, i.e. there may be meanings or readings I am not aware of. But you can't find these things in dictionaries. I once started to translate a list of old song titles with an Ethiopian friend and it became quickly apparent that many of the translations are quite tricky. . ." Andreas translates the title of the cassette as "Tizzita - The Pearl" or "Jewel," and further writes, ". . . Tizzita is one of the four tuning styles of Amharic music, and, by the way, the most used one in modern popular music. Mahmud Ahmed is said to be one of the best interpreters of this type of song. "

As usual, I've included the original inlay card at the bottom of this post.

"She Has It:"

Mahmoud Ahmed - Allat Nägär

"Oh Her Tears:"

Mahmoud Ahmed - Erri Embwa

"Appearing Abruptly:"

Mahmoud Ahmed - Zäww Zäww

"Let Me Live With It:"

Mahmoud Ahmed - Lenurebbät

"Kochämbi K
ärsädi/Alämäna" is in two different Gurage languages, Soddo and Säbat Bet (Mahmoud Ahmed is a Gurage), and Andreas was unable to translate it:

Mahmoud Ahmed - Kochämbi Kärsädi (Soddo)/Alämäna (Säbat Bet)

"Come (down) From the Highlands:"

Mahmoud Ahmed - Näy Kädägaw

"How Should I Forget Her:"

Mahmoud Ahmed - Endet Lersat

"Come (to a woman) on a Horse:"

Mahmoud Ahmed - Näy Bäfäräs

"Who Can it Be?:"

Mahmoud Ahmed - Man Yehon

"It (or he) Was:"

Mahmoud Ahmed - Näbbär

You can download Tezzetta Enqu as a zipped file here.



9 comments:

Scoop said...

Fantastic stuff -- thanks for sharing, and for going to the work of getting translations, however loose. It adds a little meaning for those of us who will never read/speak Amharic. Love that Ethio sound...

icastico said...

Thanks as always.

Esamatti said...

Just wonderful! Thank you for your work!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Do you have anything by paul ngozi or ngozi family? I know the reissues but there is so much more out there:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ngozi#Studio_albums

most if not all of it is impossible to find on cd or vinyl.

thank you

Perrata 2000 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alberto Arias said...

Glad to find you. Thanks a lot!!

Henk Tummers said...

Judging by the sound, I think 1984 might be the Western year after all. It sounds very much like the cassettes from '86 that I have, where he plays with the Roha Band. And the Roha Band more or less disbanded after their US tour of 1990.

Henk Tummers

John B. said...

Henk: Could be.

glinka21 said...

Late getting to this fantastic cassette; thanks for uploading it. For future info on Ahmed release dates, I've discovered a site you might find useful:

http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Henk.Tummers/disco.htm

It's far more extensive than Discog of Allmusic. The cassette you describe is listed as "1984 (1992?)" Possibly it was begun in 1984, set aside, and finished years later--perhaps for contractual reasons.

In any case, hope that helps. And thanks for your great blog.