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Mahmoud Ahmed

In Ethiopia the word is "eskeusta," which roughly translated means ecstasy; more specifically, it is a shaking sensation that begins at one's shoulders, quivering down the spine and into the legs and feet. Of all the great male vocalists that Ethiopia has produced (and there have been quite a few), none is able to create eskeusta better than Mahmoud Ahmed.

For over 40 years Mahmoud Ahmed has deftly combined the traditional Amharic music of Ethiopia (essentially a five-note scale that features jazz-style singing offset by complex circular rhythm patterns that give the music a distinct Indian feel) with pop and jazz, yielding some of the most adventurous, passionate, ear-opening, downright surrealistic sounds this side of the deepest, darkest dub or the most out-there free jazz. In fact, until you've heard Ahmed's sweeping multi-octave voice in full workout, words hardly do it justice. As with the late great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, he simply has to be heard to be believed and appreciated.

Ahmed has been a star in Ethiopia almost since the day he began recording. His swooping vocals, complemented by the freewheeling jazziness of the Ibex Band (with whom he recorded his masterpiece, Ere Mela Mela), are very different from what normally is lumped into the broad expression Afro-pop. The rhythms are repetitive and intense, not too dissimilar from, say, Fela, just a little less hard. But it's Ahmed's voice -- swirling high notes that sound as if they're chasing one another, impeccable tone and phrasing -- that is the distinguishing element. By singing in this style Ahmed has attempted to fuse the past and present. He's not an elitist when it comes to singing older Ethiopian music, but rather he hears the similarities in Ethiopian pop that have thrived over time and is keen to bring them together.

As the Western critical attention to Afro-pop centered on the music of sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopian artists like Ahmed and Hirut Bekele, Ali Birra, and Alemayehu Eshete were less likely to receive coverage in the music press. Recently, younger performers such as Aster Aweke (who emigrated to the U.S. in the mid-'80s) and Netsanet Mellesse have received more ink, thus opening the doors for those inclined to explore the music that influenced them. And for those so inclined that means becoming familiar with brilliant, demanding, but unknown artists such as Mahmoud Ahmed. He has been featured consistently in the award-winning Ethiopiques series of compilation recordings from Buda Musique, and has four separate installments -- Vols. 6, 7 (his seminal Erè Mèla Mèla), 19, and 26 -- devoted exclusively to his catalog of works as well as his singles that appear intermittently on other volumes. Ethiopiques, Vol. 26 features Ahmed fronting Ethiopia's Imperial Bodyguard Band between 1972 and 1974 (though he was no longer a member of that band); it includes all the sides he recorded with them in chronological order. ~ John Dougan, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Ahh gedaw! Yaz ah. Ayfram gam ayfram gam yaz! Yaz! Ho!
This song reminds me of someone :(
F
Kool
ladyeckored0 6
ugh i love this song, its hypnotic
That hopefully will keep the Eritrean flavor while at the same time letting you broadcast the diverse songs at a separate time slot, just simialr to the way skyfm does. I see there is only Dehab Fatinga as Eritrean singer. I can suggest some songs if you are interested.
Hello to who ever is in charge of Eritrean gril radio, I think there are a lot of nice, new songs as well as timeless pieces of Haile Gebru, Teberh Tesfuney .. that you could add to the station. It will boost the audience. I like the fact that you are trying to make it diverse but it is also good to have a flavor that reflects the station name. I mean, the title only doesn't tell the Eritreanness much, I suggest to make separate time slots when you broadcast Eritrean and a mix.
aygoda
Mahmoud Ahmed is timeless!
mananabiscui t
embwa belew hmhm embwa belew~~
Also Another Classic! ELELELELELEL E E
abdikareem10 0
thanks for sharing this with us mohamoud. really enjoyed my stay at your station. (even had my cup of Ethiopean coffee with me)
amlakb
What do you mean "don't laugh there been quite a few?" have u done any research? who hired these people to write the biographies anyways? please some one take this page down and update it.

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