Tag Archives: Ethiopia

Tlahoun Gèssèssè – Tchuhetén Betsèmu

Various Artists - Ethiopiques

Various Artists – Ethiopiques

A wise blogger posts early on Saturday morning when the weekend energy levels are at their highest. A foolish blogger leaves it till Sunday evening after two days of gardening! I’ve achieved a lot this weekend but I am “tatered”!

I have just enough energy to write this post and then, fortified by a curry, generously donated by my Indian neighbours, we’re of to see “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” a 1920 silent German Expressionist film with a live soundtrack composed and played by electronica / jazz duo Cipher.

On to the music and I’m posting a track by Tlahoun Gèssèssè who died on 19th April 19 this year. Tlahoun Gèssèssè was one of the most popular singers during Ethiopia’s “Golden Age” in the 1960s and early 1970s, acquiring the nickname “The Voice”.

In recent years he gained wider fame through the “Ethiopiques” series of CDs, compiled by the French producer Francis Falceto. Volume 17 is devoted entirely to Gèssèssè’s work and three of his songs, including the one chosen here, feature on the best-selling “The Very Best of Ethiopiques”.

Tlahoun Gèssèssè – Tchuhetén Betsèmu

Heywèté – Tèsfa-Maryam Kidané

Various Artists - Ethiopiques

Various Artists – Ethiopiques

In his inauguration speech earlier this month President Barack Obama echoed President Kennedy’s inauguration speech “ … ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country” by observing “that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly”.

In rather depressing times it is useful to remind ourselves of the duties that we, our friends and persons unknown “seize gladly”. Be they random acts of kindness or sustained involvement in community programmes, they build, strengthen and support our society – so celebrate them!

These thoughts were prompted by an email from my friend Lenny, a school teacher in northern Maine, USA. He wrote about a colleague of his, Linda, who does voluntary work in Darfur, Sudan and Ethiopia. Lenny has started sending footballs out for the children, with Linda.

He wrote, “When Linda returned she gave me the most beautiful picture of the kids at the orphanage with my football. It would break your heart to see these little fellows holding the ball I sent.”

So this track, “Heywèté” by Tèsfa-Maryam Kidané, is dedicated to Lenny, Linda and all the others who “seize gladly” their “duties”. It comes from “The Very Best of Ethiopiques” a double compilation album taken from “Ethiopiques”, a remarkable series of re-issues of Ethiopian and Eritrean music on the Buda label.

Heywèté – Tèsfa-Maryam Kidané