music: Ali Birra@Ethiopiques#28


Ali M. Birra on éthiopiques #28

Published by BudaMusique 2013
For a long time downplayed and deprived of any recognition whatsoever, Oromo music (just like the people made from the same rustproof metal – today 30 million strong) is indeed one of the liveliest among Ethiopia’s musical traditions. This volume of éthiopiques pays tribute to the man in whom Oromo music has irrepressibly affirmed itself since the 1960s. A very unusual groove, very different from gouragué, amhara or tigrigna rhythms, a relentless quest for identity and, on top of that, a guitar style that would stand out anywhere (couldn’t one say that there is a Dire Dawa guitar sound?).
With 3 unreleased bonus tracks of the 60’s.

Longtemps minorée et tenue à l’écart de toute reconnaissance, la musique oromo (tout comme les populations du même métal inoxydable – aujourd’hui 30 millions de personnes) est bien l’une des manifestations les plus vivaces parmi les musiques d’Éthiopie. Ces éthiopiques rendent aujourd’hui hommage à celui par qui la musique oromo s’est irrépressiblement affirmée depuis les années 1960. Groove particulier, très différent des rythmes gouragué, amhara ou tigrigna, inlassable revendication identitaire et jeu de guitare remarquable entre tous (n’y aurait-il pas un son de Diré Dawa ?…).
Avec 3 bonus inédits des années 1960.


Tea, chat & music – Early Oromo music lovers (circa mid-60’s) De gauche à droite / From left to right: Uduf, Mohammed Ta’a, Mohammed Lungo, Wa’ib Jubani, X, Umar Osman. With permission of Mr Francis Falceto for éthiopiques series
All tracks:
1 Awash (1973) 3’45
2 Kan ati fettun isani infedhani (1975) 4’45
3 Nagatti si jedha (1975) 5’53
4 Imiman Jalaala (1975) 5’00
5 Eshurruru (1975) 4’48
6 Waa silleen indararuu (1975) 5’45
7 Awash (1975) 5’04
8 Eessaati si argaa (1975) 4’55
9 Si jaalallee (1975) 4’07
10 Abbaa Lafa (1975) 5’48
11 Inyaadi’ini (1975) 4’29
12 Si inhanbisin warri (1973) 3’54
13 Yaa hundee bareedaa (circa mid-60’s) 3’46
14 Awash solo guitar & voc. (circa mid-60’s) 6’00
15 Si jaalallee + Imperial Bodyguard Band (1966-69) 2’54


Awash (version 1975)


with the permission of Mr Francis Falceto, editor of the éthiopiques series, for the readers of Analacta CornuAfricae
(Refrain) The Awash River keeps people from running,
It reminds them of their companions
and they miss them so much that they can’t sleep.
Come here near the river
Right now is the best time.
The sight of the Awash overwhelms all those
who gaze over her flowing waters,
It reminds them of their companions,
and they weep because they are so far away.

The Water of Addis Ababa,
O powerful river, flow,
come and pass through my body
This would not kill me,
I would just feel a bit groggy
O Lady of the city, dry my body
with your veil.

I am galloping to reach Salaale
And this road will take me to Jimma
Although you and we do not come
from the same place,
Yet our bowels cry together.

The black Eagle with the white crest, of Wellega,
How could I miss you, since this region is your territory?
You might be worshipped for your beauty
But I will never become your slave.

The Eagle of Dire Dawa,
“Eat meat, do not be satisfied with bones”, he said.
The City of Dire Dawa,
“Come to me, do not visit other towns than me”, she said.

On my way out of Addis Ababa,
I saw the saddles of our riders,
still hanging in their houses.
When I come to join you,
I won’t wake the children
who are sleeping near you
They won’t notice a thing,
So let down your long hair and kiss me.

(Refrain)L’Awash empêche les gens de courir,
Il leur rappelle leurs compagnons,
et leur douloureuse absence les empêche de dormir.
Viens-là près du fleuve,
C’est maintenant le meilleur moment
L’Awash bouleverse ceux qui contemplent son cours
Il leur rappelle leurs compagnons,
et leur douloureuse absence les fait pleurer.

L’eau d’Addis Abeba,
Onde puissante du fleuve, coule et pénètre mon corps
Je n’en mourrais pas, je serais juste un peu sonné.
O dame de la ville, sèche mon corps avec ton voile.

Je galope vers Salaalé
Et cette route me conduira bientôt à Jimma
Même si vous et nous ne venons pas de la même région,
Nos entrailles pleurent néanmoins ensemble.

L’Aigle noir au toupet blanc du Wèllèga
Comment pourrais-je te manquer,
puisque cette région est ton territoire ?
On peut te vénérer pour ta beauté,
Mais jamais je ne deviendrai ton esclave.

L’Aigle de Diré-Dawa,
“Mangez la viande, ne vous contentez pas des os”, dit-il.
La ville de Diré Dawa,
“Venez à moi, n’allez pas dans d’autres villes”, dit-elle.

Sur le chemin qui m’éloigne d’Addis Abeba la Splendide,
J’ai vu les selles de nos cavaliers
accrochées dans les huttes.
Sur le chemin qui me mène près de toi,
Je ne réveillerai pas les enfants
qui dorment à tes côtés,
Ils ne s’apercevront de rien
Alors, libère ta chevelure et embrasse-moi.

Traduction française: Thomas Osmond English translation: Karen Louise Albrecht


Oud & accordéon (circa late 60’s). De gauche à droite / From left to right : Ali Birra, Mohammed Yussuf Adam, Suleyman Yussuf Ibrahim. With permission of Mr Francis Falceto for éthiopiques series.
Read more stories on Ali Birra by Andreas Hansen on Addis Rumble blog
A man returns: an audience with Oromo legend Ali Birra

event: Africa Remix – conference and concert – Harvard University – Feb 8 2013

Africa Remix: Producing and Presenting African Musics Abroad

Conference / Concert / Discussion

Mahindra Humanities Center Seminar Conference Organized by “African Musics Abroad”
Harvard University – February 8 2013

info / poster

8:30am, Thompson Room, Barker Center

Welcome, 8:30am
Homi K. Bhabha, Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard

Producing Global Sounds, 9am
Chief Boima, “Africa is a Country”
José da Silva , LUSAFRICA
Ben Herson, Nomadic Wax
Chair: Patricia J. Tang, MIT

Shaping Local Reception, 11am
Maure Aronson, World Music/CRASHarts
Jacob Edgar , Cumbancha
Banning Eyre, Afropop Worldwide
Russ Gershon, Either/Orchestra
Chair: Carla D. Martin, Harvard University

Collaboration or Appropriation?: Issues in Remixing African Styles, 2pm
Sarah Hankins, Harvard University
Sharon Kivenko , Harvard University
Warrick Moses, Harvard University
Chair: Wayne Marshall, Harvard University

Keynote Address, 4pm
Francis Falceto, Free-lance editor and author
“éthiopiques vs. ethioSonic: Sense and Nonsense in Musical Globalization”
Chair: Kay K. Shelemay, Harvard University

8pm, Lowell Hall

Discussion: Remixing Ethiopian Music
Danny Mekonnen, Debo Band
Chair: Kay K. Shelemay, Harvard University

Concert by Debo Band

Concert is free, but tickets are required. Free tickets available Friday, January 25, 2013 at Harvard Box Office, 617-496-2222.

Cosponsored with the Department of Music, Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities, Department of African and African American Studies, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, and the Office for the Arts at Harvard.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search