Posts Tagged ‘samuel yirga’

Top of the World Review: Samuel Yirga – Guzo

Posted on August 10th, 2012 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Words by Chris Menist

Ethio-pop rewritten for a new age

It’s not often that one is greeted by such a strong debut, so effortlessly shot through with intelligence and creativity. It’s hard to conceive that it was only a few years ago that an inexperienced Samuel Yirga was auditioning at the Yared School of Music in Addis Ababa, tapping out rhythms with a coin to prove his musical ability. Guzo displays a startling maturity for someone who only began studying piano in his mid-teens. The album digs out key components of Ethiopian music and draws them alongside smart juxtapositions, such as the messenqo violin melody coupled with a Fender Rhodes electric piano on opener ‘Abet Abet’ or the kebero drumming interlocking with Latin piano licks on ‘Firma Ena Wereket’. Yirga’s innovations are perhaps most keenly felt on solo tracks like ‘Ye Bati Koyita’ and ‘Drop Me There’, which recall Keith Jarrett or Andrew Hill in their improvisation and quiet confidence. Themes develop and recede over these longer tracks, as the pianist deconstructs the traditional melodies. The album overall appears to be the product of much consideration, without resorting to contrivance. The cover of Rotary Connection’s ‘I Am The Black Gold of The Sun’ is a great choice, further heightened by the lush harmonies of The Creole Choir of Cuba that blend effortlessly into the psychedelic sheen. 

Finally we have a project that successfully takes the tunes and arrangements of Ethiopia’s much-documented golden age and updates them into a modern setting, consolidating their originality and power in the process. 

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Chris Blackwell’s playlist and the 10 best new releases in the Aug/Sept issue of Songlines (#86)

Posted on July 19th, 2012 in Recent posts by .

The August/September 2012 issue of Songlines – on sale July 20 – features a free covermount CD packed full of the best new sounds from around the world, plus 5 tracks selected by the Island Reocrds founder Chris Blackwell. It also includes a second free CD, Louisiana Legends – A Gumbo of Cajun, Zydeco, Blues, Jazz, Funky Brass & More.

The Top of the World CD includes tracks from Polish folk collective Warsaw Village Band; courageous Iranian singing duo Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat; Brazil’s new rap sensation Criolo; Quantic’s latest Colombian adventure, Ondatrópica; UK Romany folk song collector Sam Lee; and the debut from emerging Ethio-pop star Samuel Yirga, among others.

Pick up your copy here on the website, at selected WHSmith’s and at all good record retailers. Feast your ears on these all-new tracks:

* Mokoomba ‘Njoka’ on IglooMondo
* Criolo ‘Bogotá’ on Sterns
* Ondatrópica ‘Suena’ on Soundway
* Lokkhi Terra ‘Shokhi Kunjo Shajao’ on Funkiwala
* Samuel Yirga ‘The Blues of Wollo’ on Real World
* Sam Lee ‘Goodbye my Darling’ on The Nest Collective
* Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat ‘Garden of Visions’ on Kirkelig Kulturverksted
* Bard ‘Late Afternoon’ on Woodburner
* Warsaw Village Band ‘Hola Byski Hola’ on Jaro
* The Very Best ‘Yoshua Alikuti’ on Moshi Moshi Records

Plus Chris Blackwell’s playlist:

* Oumou Sangaré ‘Yala’ on World Circuit
* Baaba Maal ‘Tindo Quando’ on Palm Pictures
* Angélique Kidjo ‘Agolo’ on Island/Mango
* Salif Keita ‘Mandjou’ on Island/Mango
* Ali Farka Touré ‘Timbarma’ on World Circuit

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August/September 2012 issue of Songlines (#86) is on sale in the UK from July 20

Posted on July 18th, 2012 in Recent posts by .

The August/September 2012 issue of Songlines is on sale in the UK from July 20 and includes our regular Top of the World CD with ten tracks from the finest new releases from around the planet, plus a second free CD showcasing Louisiana Legends – A Gumbo of Cajun, Zydeco, Blues, Jazz, Funky Brass & More. The Top of the World CD also includes five tracks selected by Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell.

The Top of the World CD includes tracks from Polish folk collective Warsaw Village Band; courageous Iranian singing duo Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat; Brazil’s new rap sensation Criolo; Quantic’s latest Colombian adventure, Ondatrópica; UK Romany folk song collector Sam Lee; and the debut from emerging Ethio-pop star Samuel Yirga, among others.

 

 

 

The main editorial features include: 

Features
• Happy Birthday WOMAD – The story behind this momentous festival as it celebrates 30 years.
• Sam Lee – Tim Cumming takes to the road with the young song collector, folk singer and former burlesque dancer.
• West Bengal – Simon Broughton journeys through West Bengal’s rural communities to report on the regeneration taking place amongst musicians.
• Anda Union – A look at the Inner Mongolian band who are preparing to take Edinburgh by storm at this year’s Fringe festival.
• The Alaev Family – It’s a family affair: the Central Asian Jewish band about to make their UK debut at this year’s WOMAD. 

Regulars
• Beginner’s Guide to Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy.
• Sounding Out Shetland – all the best places to find music on the islands off the Scottish north coast.
• Festival Profile: Fest’Napuan, Vanuatu.
• Postcard from Windsor Castle.
• Backpage from Fes, Morocco.
• My World – Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.
• Grooves – Emily Miller, one half of country singers the Sweetback Sisters, new Ethio-pop sensation Samuel Yirga, and Steve Roud, author of the New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.
• News, including Fado on film: a new exhibition.
• Reviews of the latest CD, DVD and World Cinema releases.

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