Happy Ethiopian New Year!
Yes, we know that it is also Rosh Hashanah, but we’ve published so much already about the Jewish High Holidays that we thought it was time to blow another new year’s horn. That it happens to Ethiopia’s big day is convenient because it gives us a chance to tip our hat to some music that would feature prominently on the KtB soundtrack, if KtB had a soundtrack: Ethiopiques, the excellent collection of albums of Ethiopian jazz and pop from the 1960s and 70s, released by the aptly named French label Buda Musique.
Watch ’em on YouTube
No, it’s not particularly “religious” or “spiritual” (though the guy who gets up to show off his two-step is clearly moved by something), but here’s the KtB angle: A friend of ours recently had a cab ride with an Ethiopian driver in Washington, DC. He was playing one of Ethiopiques albums on his stereo and when he heard that our friend knew and liked the music he nearly drove off the road.
“You must go see them play!” the cab driver said.
“Where would I do that?” our friend asked.
“In Addis Ababa, of course! They are old men now, and the young people don’t know them. But they play in all the churches!”