Souvenirs

Souvenirs

The first vocal album by beloved Ethiopian nun, composer, and pianist Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru - profound and deeply moving home cassette recordings made amidst political upheaval and turmoil.

Artist: Emahoy Tsege Mariam Gebru

Genre: African

Label: MIssissippi

Release date:


These are songs of wisdom, loss, mourning, and exile, sung directly into a boombox and accompanied by Emahoy’s unmistakable piano. Though written and recorded while still living at her family’s home in Addis Ababa, Emahoy sings of the heartache of being far from home, a reflection on the 1974 revolution and Red Terror in Ethiopia, and a presentiment of her future exile in Jerusalem.
In the 21st century, Emahoy has become known worldwide for her utterly unique melodic and rhythmic style. Commonly misinterpreted as “jazzy” or “honky tonk,” Emahoy’s music actually comes from a deep engagement with the Western classical tradition, mixed with her background in Ethiopian traditional and Orthodox music.
These songs, recorded between 1977-1985, are different from anything previously released by the artist. Rich with the sound of birds outside the window, the creak of the piano bench, the thump of Emahoy’s finger on the record button, they create a sense of place, of being near the artist while she records.

About the artist

A daughter of Addis Ababa’s upper classes, she was immersed in Ethiopian traditional song, then trained in classical violin and piano, embraced early jazz and later took holy orders. So it’s quite fitting that her compositions were a curious fusion of fin de siècle parlour piano, gospel, ragtime, Ethiopian folk music and the choral traditions of the country’s Orthodox church

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  • Standard Pressing


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