I’ve recently been listening to the Ethiopiques collection (in short, a collection of Ethiopian and Eritrean musicians, ranging from jazz to soul to piano solo).
Mahmoud Ahmed caught my interest when I first heard him. I looked him up and found this article on the FLY Global Music Culture website: http://web.archive.org/web/20051223085807/http://www.fly.co.uk/fly/archives/2005/10/mahmoud_ahmed_addis_swinger.html
The lead roped me in–it provides a great illustration of the event, an informative history of Ahmed and accessible and accurate comparisons and descriptions. The article nails Ahmed’s sound on the head as far as I can tell.
What I really like is that the article appeals to two sides of me: the pop or soul music lover who likes to experiment with her music taste, and the African music student. He makes the music appealing to familiar and unfamiliar listeners, American and Ethiopian soul lovers. Not only that, but his inclusion of the history of Ethiopia’s governmental changes and struggles in relation to Ahmed and the Ethiopian music scene makes the review and Mahmoud Ahmed’s music intriguing.
Something about it just works for me.
If by the time you’ve read this and the review you still haven’t listened to Mahmoud Ahmed, go do that now. You can listen to one of my favorite tracks here.