Samuel Yirga Ushers In A Golden Age Of Ethiopian Music

by  -November 8, 2012 | NPR

Samuel Yirga plays Ethiopian standards with a voracious talent that helps him savor each musical flavor.

The period from the late ’60s to the late ’70s was a boom era for Ethiopian recordings, which all participants acknowledge as a Golden Age. This heady blend of folk ensembles, so-called Ethio-jazz bands and brash singers who incorporated soul and funk into traditional forms was documented in an admirable series of retrospective albums called Ethiopiques, which was available here in the late ’90s. Since then, it’s been harder to get a feel for the general tone of modern Ethiopian styles. But this year, there’s been a flurry of Ethiopian releases in America, and the key to it for me is 27-year-old pianist Samuel Yirga and his debut album, Guzo.

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