With every new release in the Ethiopiques series I have been anxiously skimming the tracks, hoping to find more of - or like - the music of this mystery cassette. And by "mystery cassette" I don't mean I don't know who the artist is. It is none other than the great Alemayehu Eshete.
The mystery is in the date, the context and the tracks.
This cassette was copied for me some time in the early 1990s by a very kind Ethiopian, whom I had asked for a copy of his favourite music. And this was it.
He gave no explanation, no titles, nothing; only the music.
To me the cassette ranks in the Top 5 of Ethiopian collections. And that's saying a lot, with the stiff competition of Tilahuns, Mahmuds and Bizuneshes....
I am assuming at least part of the cassette was recorded from a radio show. Accompanied by piano, sax and accordeon Alemayehu's voice soars and touches emotional buttons others will never find. Real damage occurs with track A7, a track which has left scars in my heart.....
As if this is not enough the B-side of the cassette continues with Alemayehu with a full grown horn accompagnement, leaving me gasping for air by the time I get to the end of this 60 minute cassette.
Additionally, here is video with two clips plus a short interview with Alemayehu Eshete, from a documentary about Ethiopian music. I think the documentary was broadcasted in the early 1990s.