Home > City Journal > In search of the forgotten music Producer

In search of the forgotten music Producer

In the tradition of showcasing the best in Ethiopian and western music, the Alliance Ethio-Francaises is organizing the Ethiopian Music Festival for the 6th consecutive time from 9th to the 17th of January.The producers say the festival offers Addis Ababenians one exhibition and six music concerts that would be staged at the Alliance Ethio-Francaise, Hilton,and Italian Cultural Instiute.And five documentary films on Ethiopian music would also be screened at the Alliance Ethio-Francaise.

And this year the festival dedicated to Amaha Eshete, one of the ‘neglected’ figures in the history of Ethiopian music.

Francis Falceto, author of Abyssinia Swing, a pictorial history of modern Ethiopian music and one of the organizers of the festival at a press conference today said that Amha Eshete was Ethiopia’s first independent music producer.In 1969 he created his own label, Amha Records, in spite of a 1948 imperial edict granting the monoploy on producing and importing records to Ager Fequer Cultural Assocation.

According to Falceto, Amha also became the manager of the country’s first independent band (the Soul Echos), at a time when all musical groups belonged to institutions such as the Imperial Body Guard, the Army, the Police, the City of Addis Ababa or the Haile Selaaie I Theatre.The rare bands that performed in hotels or clubs depended heavily upon thier employers and didnot even have thier own instruments.Between 1969 and 1975, Amha Eshete produced 103 singles and eleven LPs, the quintessence of the golden age of Ethiopian groove.Other independent producers, such as Kassahun Eshete (Philips Ethiopia) and Ali ‘Tango'(Kaifa Records) finished the task that Amha started.Thier productions constitue nothing less than the meory of an era- and an admirable legacy left for posterity, Falceto argued.

For details and venue information, see the Alliance website.

Categories: City Journal
  1. January 9, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    Hi Arefe…this is a nice article!

    And Thank you for linking my weblog. Now the name has changed to Under the Olive Tree from Brango and Tringo.

    I hope you come and visit…

    Happy 20000007!!!

  2. January 12, 2007 at 1:45 am

    Hey Arefe,

    I used to love going to the Alliance organized Ethiopian music festivals when we lived there. I am a little sad I will be missing this year’s shows. Good thing we have you to report back to us, though!

    I visit your website through a proxy now. Works fine.

    Do you go to the Gothe Institute for the Wednesday art discussions? Although not always, it can be fun and informative.

  3. Arefe
    January 17, 2007 at 7:55 am

    Hi, Yemi, Sorry for my late response. I was sort of busy the past week.
    The Goethe people are not having those discussions as they use to. But they have other democracy related discussions once a month or something. I went once; it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Talk about democracy in this country could give you one hell of headache.

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