12/09/2023Mississippi Records Reissue Lost Classic Of Ethiopian Golden Age By Aselefech Ashine & Getenesh Kebret

Fans of Ethiopian grooves and those to be best listen up: Today, we bring you an absolute "gem of a record," originally released in 1976 on Kaifa Records and now reissued in full for the first time by Brooklyn-based imprint Mississippi Records. You might call it "a lost classic of the Ethiopian Golden Age," but more importantly it is a testament to two leading voices of the era. Fittingly titled "Beauties", this ten-track collection sees two of Addis Ababa's finest vocalists take to the stage, shortly before the Derg regime cracked down on music and artistic impression. "For two decades, nearly all recording and live music would cease in Ethiopia."

"Beauties" thus not only brings us one of the final records produced in Ethiopia's Golden Age, but also "combines the greatest elements of [the era]," as  "Aselefech Ashine and Getenesh Kebret's voices intertwine in close harmony," showcasing "centuries-old vocal techniques." They are accompanied by The Army Band, bringing "Mulatu-esque minor key piano runs, interlocking percussion, and rock-steady basslines" to the forefront. "Arranger Teshome Sisay's flute winds through the compositions, tying together gloriously woozy horns." It comes as no surprise then that the record sold out upon release. 

Now remastered at Domino Sound in New Orleans, "Beauties" has the chance to connect with a whole new generation of listeners: "I have full confidence that this album will be popular and a hit when it is released again now!" says Aselefech Ahine from her home in Addis. And so do we. "Beauties" is an essential record for anyone looking to add an undeniable groover to their bag. But even more so, this is such an important document from a free and thriving society, a breath of fresh air in these oppressing times that fills us with the hope for a better future.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom