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
Mahmoud Ahmed - Zäww Zäww
"Let Me Live With It:"
Mahmoud Ahmed - Lenurebbät
"Kochämbi Kärsädi/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.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Saturday, September 13, 2008
As part of this blog's ongoing effort to bring to light obscure and hard-to-find recordings from Ethiopia, I present a 1992 cassette, Mahmoud Ahmed Live in Addis Ababa (Ambassel Music Shop).
This recording is interesting in light of the fall of the brutal regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam on May 19 the previous year. Suddenly the riches of contemporary Ethiopian music became far more available to the outside world. Live, along with a number of other cassettes, was licensed to an Ethiopian entrepreneur in Washington, DC, who was able to use mass-market technology to duplicate it. These cassettes were therefore of somewhat better quality than the haphazardly-copied Ethiopian editions (the cassette inlay cards were printed in Ethiopia).
Live is marred somewhat by the use of synthesizer and drum machine, but it offers an interesting look at one of the masters of the Ethiopian groove on his home ground. Of course, I have no idea if the lyrics reflect the tumultuous changes occurring in Ethiopia at the time.
A member of the minority Gouarague ethnic group, Mahmoud Ahmed was born on May 8, 1941, and rose from very humble origins as a shoeshine boy to become the best-known Ethiopian musician internationally, thanks mainly to his ground-breaking record Erè Mèla Mèla (1975), which has been reissued several times in the last 20 years.
The cassette lists twelve songs, but three, "Enmane Nebru," "Yuy Heregitu" and "Naye Danune Tesau," are missing. As usual, I've transliterated the song titles utilizing the Geez syllabary. As there are undoubtedly errors, I'm making the original inlay card available to anyone with a knowledge of Amharic (I suspect some of these songs are in other languages as well). Your input is gratefully solicited!
Mahmoud Ahmed - Alaweqeueleoeme
Mahmoud Ahmed - Menafeqy Gwadaoe
Mahmoud Ahmed - Enedyte Yerlale
Mahmoud Ahmed - Mela Tesxoe
Mahmoud Ahmed - Elemaze Mene Oeda Newe
Mahmoud Ahmed - Tezeta
Mahmoud Ahmed - Enegeday Nu
Mahmoud Ahmed - Enedagna
Mahmoud Ahmed - Imisemamaoe Axahuoe
And if you'd like to hear some more Mahmoud Ahmed at the top of his form, I've zipped and uploaded recordings of two concerts he did in Amsterdam a few years ago. These were originally posted at Matt Yanchyshyn's wonderful blog Benn Loxo du Taccu and are made available with his permission. Download them here (warning: this is a 141 megabyte file) . I may decide to take these down in a couple of weeks, so get 'em while they're hot! Here's the setlist:
2. Endet Nesh
3. Wey Fikir
4. Belomi Benna
5. Libesh Kabashini
6. Ney Denun Teseshi
7. Ere Mela Mela
12. Sab Sab Argign
13. Hulum Bager Naw