on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2016 25 Jun

Ethiopiques 21 (Music for Hans-Dieter’s Piano)

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 3 Comments

„The Éthiopiques series is known for high-energy pop, brass bands and jazzy instrumentals—dance music for swingin’ Addis Ababa. But the 21st volume acts like a nightcap after a night out on the town. Playing solo piano, Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou works through 16 delicate compositions that sound like a somber Claude Debussy interpreting Ethiopian music: pentatonic, modal and mostly in the middle register. The performances come from the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s, all made after Guèbrou had become a nun because her dreams to become a full-time musician were dashed by governmental interference. She made these recordings to raise money for charities, and it’s a relief she didn’t give up on music entirely after politics derailed her dreams. Emahoy is a strange, sui generis CD.“

(Jazz Times, years ago)


„Oh, how lucky are those human beings  who own this piano album. I’ve heard it once in Vienna in a second hand music store, round 2008. For reasons I don’t know at all,  I didn’t buy it immediately. Then, for reasons even more strange, I forgot about it till snippets recently came back in a TV-feature about the Ethiopian „roots music“ that  surely was more of a surreal hybrid culture than something created from scratch. New strange skin for an old ceremony. Now it’s a buried treasure.“

(M. E.)


„I started getting into the Éthiopiques catalogue a couple of years ago, and now I think I actually have the whole set. It’s all really great, and I really love that music. It really resonates with me: the modes and the scales that are in use and the instrumentation, the way the vocals sounds. There’s just a certain spirit to that body of music – everything from the really older stuff on traditional instruments, like on the The Harp Of King David – to the jazzier, funkier stuff, which I really love. I picked this record in particular though because it’s just really sublime. It’s this really beautiful piano record. This woman was a nun, and also an incredible pianist and composer. I don’t know if you’ve heard it, but all you have to do is listen to it. It’s that kind of thing that’s just totally universal, I just totally can’t imagine anybody not enjoying that music. Sometimes you hear music and you feel like you’ve known it forever. This was a favourite to put on when I came back from tour; it’s a great record to welcome yourself home with.“

(Greg Fox of Guardian Alien)

This entry was posted on Samstag, 25. Juni 2016 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Hans-Dieter Klinger:


  2. Hans-Dieter Klinger:

    Ich stelle mir vor, ein Freund legt mir die Platte auf: „Blindtest, das kennst du bestimmt nicht!“ Was würde ich sagen?

    Stimmt, das kenne ich nicht
    Afrika käme mir sicher nicht in den Sinn
    Ich würde auf Musik europäischer Herkunft tippen, wäre aber ziemlich ratlos
    Es wirkt, wie von einem guten Amateur gespielt
    Manches ist eigentümlich originell

    Von Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou lese und höre ich heute zum ersten Mal. Die von „Jazz Times“ mitgeteilten Informationen machen neugierig, die biografischen snippets berühren …

    Das Cover der CD bringt es auf den Punkt: Klavierspielen im Zeichen des Kreuzes, Musik und Glaube als Lebensinhalt, der sich nicht hinter Klostermauern einschließt sondern in Fürsorge mündet. Über das bewegte, bewegende Leben der Nonne kann man hier viel erfahren.

    Die 16 Kompositionen orientieren sich am Genre des Charakterstückes der Romantik. Es sind Miniaturen mit poetischen Titeln – eigentümlich originell, weil es gar nicht nach Musik aus dem 19. Jahrundert klingt. Nach Claude Debussy interpreting Ethiopian music klingt es aber auch nicht. Das Besondere ist Emahoys tempo-rubato-Spiel, Musik ohne Zeitdruck, nicht gegängelt von einem klaren Metrum, nicht drangsaliert von einem strengen beat, freies meditatives Atmen.

    – – – – – – –

    Here is in her own words what each song meant to Emahoy as she composed them:

    The Homeless Wanderer
    The homeless wanderer plays on his flute, while he worries about the wilderness around his life. At night in the mountains, when people and animals rest after the day, one hears the song of a flute which the little wanderer plays, alone and far from home. The wild animals and snakes do not dare approach him, but listen spellbound to the melody his flute produces, which becomes its protector through the power of the notes. This he loses his fear of the nocturnal visitors. They become his friends.

    The Last Tears of a Deceased

    Dedicated to my beloved brother, Assayehegne, who died in a car accident at the age of 18. The last sentence of my composition expresses my deep sorrow. “my heart will weep for him all my life.”

    A Young Girl’s Complaint

    A young girl complains about the hardships of life. Her sister’s words can give her no comfort. She experiences her tears as a relief from her sorrow.

    The Mad Man’s Laughter

    This designation for my composition goes back to a remark my sister made, which when she heard this piece told me that in this music there are the sounds of reverberations of the laughter of a madman.


    The presentiment of a heavy stroke of fate. Composed two years before the death of my youngest brother, Assayehegn.

    Mother’s Love

    Dedicated to my very dear late mother memory Emahoy Kassaye Yelemtou and her beloved son Lieutenant Meshesha Guebrou fallen as a victim of the Italian War. Everyone knows how Mother’s love is sacrificing itself for the welfare and happiness of the children. Indeed! Mother’s heart is a Fortress of Love.

    The Song of the Sea

    Dedicated to the noble memory of my dear father: His Excellency Kentiba Guebrou Desta. The melody of this piece was inspired by a childhood strong impression that lingered in my mind for a whole lifetime. As a child of six years old journeying on a big Paquebot (ship) with my eldest sister W.Senedou Gebrou, we were lying on deck-chairs at the deck of the ship because inside the cabin it was too hot. The sight of the full moon shining on the deep blue cloudless sky, her silvery rays sparkling on the sea waves that looked like a moving silver field, the waves under the soft blow of the wind chasing one after another: that beautiful impressive picture remained stamped in my childish mind, even later in life the sea always had a special attraction to me. Listen…..taking you on her waves on an afar journey….


    The name itself reminds every Christian of the holy meaning. This is the place where Jesus Christ died on the cross., so that we may live eternally in His Glorious Kingdom.

    The Jordan River Song

    Background! The river flowing relates the sad stories of its surrounding drama.

    The Garden of Gethesemanie

    The beautiful and silent Garden where Jesus Christ suffered betrayal by one of his disciples.

    The Song of Abayi

    With blessing to my dear nieces Meskerem Assefa and Aster Assefa.

    The Story of the Wind

    With blessings to my dear sister Guennet Guebrou and dear daughter Yewbdar Yilma. You know the wind goes around the world and has so many stories to tell…On your leisure hours sit in your garden and listen his story as he is passing by…you will enjoy it.

    Evening Breeze

    With blessings to my dear sister W. Senedou Guebrou, and daughter Goh-Alem Assefa, that brings with him vanishing remembrance….

    Tenkou! Why Feel Sorry?

    With blessings to my dear nieces Konjit Yilma and Edele Yilma and Family. Song: Why those tears in your eyes? Cheer up, for you are so young….


  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Könnte man auch gut spielen an der Seite von Hans Ottes „Buch der Klänge“, in der Version von Herbert Henck.

    Und einer Aufnahme von Roger Eno, auf deren Titel ich gerade nicht komme, und die auf den Kompositionen eines deutschen Kirchenbruders basiert, die in ihrer schlichten Anmut auch Hörer faszinieren kann, die mit Kirche herzlich wenig am Hut haben.

    22 Improvisations for Keyboard, oder so ähnlich.

    Henck, die Äthioperin, und das Roger Eno-Album zwischen 5.05 und 5.30 Uhr in meiner Augustsendung, und es wäre eine perfekte halbe Stunde. Um 5.40 Uhr dann, als Einstimmng auf das 12. Punktfestival, ATMOSPHERES von Tigran Hamasyan, mit Jan Bang, Eivind Aarset und Arve Henriksen, das Doppelalbum erscheint nun endgültig am 3. September, Datum des Release-Konzerts in Kristiansand.

    So kann ich mir das vorstellen, natürlich spielt Hamasyans Doppelalbum schon einer Rolle in der dritten Stunde, der Nahaufnahme, wo es um Parallelen der ECM-Jahre 2016 und 1976 geht. Vielleicht mache ich dann auch in den letzten 20 Minuten vor 6 Uhr was anderes…

    Um 4.00 Uhr (bis 5.00) – bereits angekündigt: eine Spurensuche nach dem Jazz, den Jazzelementen, im Werk von Joni Micthell und Van Morrison in den 70er Jahren…incl. BLUE ( no jazz! ), COURT AND SPARK (a little touch of jazz, Brian Eno’s favourite Mitchell album), HEJIIRA, MINGUS, und, bei Van The Man, ASTRAL WEEKS, TOO LATE TO STOP NOW. Perfekt.

    Jetzt brauchen ich nur noch die hochauflösende Aufnahme deines neuen Werkes, Hans-Dieter:


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