I can't seem to stop listening to the very best of ethiopiques --this stuff throws open the doors to all the dream cities in my head, in all their surreal fused glory of film noir and Baudelaire and Betty Boop and vintage belly dance. It rains there, sometimes, but the rain is not the point, the way it usually is when I'm out in the world and not sneaking around doing serpentine dances in the back alleys of my skull. Here's Tlahoun Gesessee's Sema, which is what Ralph Stanley's O Death would sound like if it was sung in the enchanted metropolis of my mind full of Moorish windows lit up and darkened among nightblooming desert things:
And here's Getatchew Mekurya's Antchi Hoye, which is like the soundtrack to the world's strangest and most magical cartoon. Which I haven't got around to making yet. Sorry.
These are some of the miraculous musicians of Ethiopia's golden years of jazz, the James Browns and Cab Calloways of their own country -- and speaking of Cab Calloway, since I don't have anything lying around that looks enough like the luminous dark alleys in my head to give you a glimpse, here's one of the world's best and most bizarre existing cartoons instead:
This is some of what I mean when I say the city...