Monday, July 21, 2008

Ethiopiques: The Golden Age of Ethiopian Jazz

Last weekend I read on TIME magazines website about a series of recordings that chronicled Ethiopia's "Golden Age of Jazz". Yes, it's true! Ethiopia had an era in their musical history that included saxophone, trombone, trumpet, organ, all the stuff.

I looked it up online and found a set of 23 CDs all chock-a-block with rollicking licks and riffs and singing in Amharic. Learn something new everyday...

So now we come to the real question: When was the golden age of Ethiopian jazz? That's a complicated question. You see, the Ethiopian calendar is derived from the Coptic and Julian calendars, making today's date November 14, 2000 (Hamle14, 2000). This puts the jazz era in the 60s and 70s for us, but in the 50s and 60s for them, give or take.

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