Saturday, November 8, 2014

Splendid Ethiopian Piano

Girma Yifrashewa
Love & Peace (Unseen Worlds UW13, 2014)

Love & Peace is a crossover solo piano album by Ethiopian musician and composer Girma Yifrashewa. The recording intersects several musical genres, including classical, Ethiopian music and jazz. It’s an introspective album that begins sounding classical at first and gets more and more Ethiopian as Love & Peace progresses.

Girma Yifrashewa incorporates Ethiopian celebratory music such as wedding songs, a basic Ethiopian mode called Anchihoyew, which is used during the fasting period of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church; the Wollo music mode.

Love & Peace is the first Yifrashewa album released outside of Africa. Girma Yifrashewa was born in Addis Ababa in 1967. His style is characterized by the use of the Ethiopian pentatonic scale.

Girma Yifrashewa’s first musical instrument was the krar (a six-string, bowl-shaped traditional lyre from Ethiopia). He started playing piano at s sixteen. Yifrashewa enrolled in the Yared Music School and received a scholarship to study at the Sofia Conservatory in Bulgaria. After completing his conservatory studies in Bulgaria, he began a career as a composer, creating the piece “The Shepherd With The Flute” – a tribute to Kebede’s most famous work, “The Shepherd Flutist.” Since then, Yifrashewa has become a prominent composer in Ethiopia, touring Africa and Europe extensively.

The nicely packaged booklet contains detailed liner notes in English and Ethiopian.