April 5, 2009

Gigi - International voice born in Ethiopia

330068 It was a surprise to me to find out that the music I related with the desert in my childhood was actually the music of Ethiopia. You know, the music of the snake charmers, with those rapid notes on wind instruments. It was even more surprising to learn that for the most part Ethiopia isn’t a desert! Moreover, snake charmers are from India, even from Morocco, but definitely not from Ethiopia!

Fortunately, out of this confusion I learned something about Ethiopian music, including the fact that it is extremely diverse.  I thus expected to easily find a very good artist, and in fact I did. Ejigayehu Shibabaw, best known as Gigi, is a talented singer with a voice that may not charm snakes but totally charms my ears.

Gud Fella (2001)

10 years ago she moved from Kenya, where she had been living for some time, to San Francisco. There, she recorded her first album, titled Gigi. With an unusual setup of American jazz musicians accompanying her voice, the traditional music from Ethiopia acquired new colors with Gigi. Given the quality of this fusion, it was no surprise that the album was an international success, giving her widespread recognition and admiration. The following song is, like the previous one, from this album.

Guramayle (2001)

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