19/02/2016A Sampling-Produced Ethiopian Jazz Revival In The Western Hemisphere

In our ongoing attempt to find best music from across the globe, the art of sampling has invariably remained within our scope. Though naturally one of our objectives has been to reveal the original source material, i.e. music often rooted in cultures located beyond the Western hemisphere, who's exotic draw of being extra-ordinary, has and always will be a factor, we cannot help but marvel at the ways many of those ‘far-away’ productions have worked their way into modern-day ‘mainstream’ releases and even hit records.

For example, did you know that the catchy Middle Eastern sax riff on Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” is an original sample of Balkan Beat Box-affiliated Ori Kaplan’s track “Hermetico”? And that’s taking two artists that are living and producing music in the same era. What about all those other obscure releases by artists living in a different time, that have witnessed such an unexpected and many times hidden revival by way of sampling?

In his recent article published on Okayafrica, author Abel Shifferaw shares “A Brief History of Ethio-Jazz Cultural Exchange” and sheds light on the invaluable work of music promoter Francis Falceto and his Paris-based Buda Musique label, responsible for releasing the epic 29 volume “Ethiopiques” reissue series, featuring music from the country’s ‘Golden Era’: Tunes by the likes of Mulatu Astatqe, Alemayehu Eshete, Asnaketch Worku, Mahmoud Ahmed or Tilahun Gessesse that have been sampled and subsequently reworked and embedded in a different cultural context in popular hiphop productions, involving renowned artists such as Nas, Damian Marley, Common, DJ Premier, Kanye West, Jay Z, K’Naan, Chubb Rock, Madlib, Oh No, The Menahan Street Band or The Gaslamp Killer, arguably making the original works more accessible. 

Before you read the full piece, listen to Cut Chemist sample from Astatqe on the breakbeat-driven "From Adidas to Addis" below and download the track for free over here

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom