Ethiopian Hit Parade - V/A LP

(Heavenly Sweetness, 2016)

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"The Ethiopian Hit Parade series are the most direct evidence of the societal revolution that impacted the music played in ’70s Ethiopia and Erythrea, coming from an insider who was living this breakthrough every day. What is at stake here is “ethio-jazz”: traditional music roots mixed with the contempory Western rhythm’n’blues, soul and jazz songs one could hear on the American military radio broadcasting from Erythrea’s military base, and in Addis Ababa’s clubs and discotheques. The result is a unique and syncretic groove, as much energetic and psychedelic, with horns, organs, drums and guitars exploring the infinite possibilities of fusion. Some of the songs were clandestinely recorded at the Empire-controlled radio, with the help of a courageous sound engineer.

If it wasn’t for Amha Eshèté’s (Amha Records head) boldness, most of this amazingly modern Ethiopian music would have vanished into thin air. And forty-four years later, if it wasn’t for Heavenly Sweetness, this music would have been never reached our turntables, or the modern online music streaming sites. The French label has started to reissue this amazing hard-to-find – if at all – series, featuring tracks that never appeared elsewhere before, with courageous and fearless Ethiopian groove pioneers like Mulatu Astatke, Alèmayèhu Eshèté (who proudly sings “Addis Abeba is My Home”) and their fellow countrymen. An Ethiopian landmark compilation made by an Ethiopian insider for the Ethiopian, that eventually made it to the whole world" - Kino Sousa for Pan African Music