Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ethiopiques - Toronto Style!

Check out Ha Geez Digital Media at Bloor and Shaw St. for a new DVD of Ethiopian legend Mahmoud Ahmed filmed live in Toronto in 2003 (I think). He's sounding as good as ever, over 40 years into his career and still with silky smooth phrasing and good breath control. The band is pretty game, too. There's no acid rock guitarist of course, and the mix is pretty hands-off, but there's a pretty tight horn section and the drummer gets nice and insistent about half way into the set. Ahmed has tons of charisma - in a gentle, mature way - to get the crowd going by the third song. With such a strong Ethiopian and Eritrean community in Toronto, moving the crowd is no big deal for this seasoned performer. At one point, there is a video montage of his performance of "Belomy Benna" overdubbed with his essential mid-70s psych-rock version from Ere Mela Mela - Muchmusic, don't sleep...

Right now the DVD is only available at the store, but keep checking the website for purchase details. The golden years of Ethiopian music live on.


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