A 1980’s BBC documentary on Ethiopian music


The great and original documentary on Ethiopian music from the BBC TV series of “Under Africa Skies”, shot in 1981 and produced by award-winning film maker, Richard Taylor and narrated by the Ghanaian actor Hugh Quarshie. This documentary featured established and rising stars, Aster Aweke, Niway Debebe, Bezawork Asfaw, Bahiru kagne, Tewodros Tadesse, Mahmoud Ahmed, Desta Gebre, Mulatu Astatke, Abebech Derara, Alemayehu Eshete and Wubanchi Sileshi. The documentary combines interviews with prominent personalities in the arts, theatre and music such as Abate Mekuria, Giovanni Rico, Afewerk Tekle, Tsegaye Gebre Medhin, Ali Tango, and Worku Sharew. Watching this documentary could make you long for a different time and place in which the arts stakeholders share anecdotes about the music scene of the time and presents a conspectus of information about traditional and modern Ethiopian music. Available on You Tube since August 15, 2016.

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4 Discussion to this post

  1. Alem says:

    Thanks Aref. Another good file. Don’t let the sun set on our rich heritage. I did feel “a tinge of sadness” watching this and contrasting it with much of the trash that passes as music art these days. I am afraid the present generation is being cheated out of its heritage as a result of mindless importation and mimicry of western garbage. “Know thyself” should come before any attempt to adapt and enrich what is already there. What we see now is art that is a transplant.

    • Le Man says:

      Hear, hear! I agree with your comment. BTY do you know the name of the two gentlemen having the rather lively discussion with Abate Mekuria. Their eloquence and clarity of thought impressed me a lot!

      • Admin says:

        One, the man with the beard, is Ato Worku Sharew and he used to work for the Ethiopian Tourism Commission during the Derg period and a few years ago he was editor at Shama Books. Very cultured man and knowledgeable on wide area of subjects.

        • Le Man says:

          Many thanks for the prompt reply. አዎን አቶ ወርቁ ሻረው ሁነኛ ሰው መሆኑ ያስታውቃል፡፡ ከአያያዝ ይቀደዳል፡ ከአነጋገር ያስታውቃል ፡እንዲል ጥንታዊው ብሒል፡፡ Sadly, people like him, they don’t make them anymore.

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