Ethiopia is a diverse nation, with over 80 ethnic groups residing within its borders, each with their own language, cultural practices, and music. I was inspired to create this web site during a recent ethnomusicological research trip in May-July 2015, during which a number of musicians requested that I help to expose the world to Ethiopia’s many different kinds of music. Happy to oblige, I have begun the process of gathering recordings, videos, photos, and other information on this topic and bringing it all together in one location for the convenience of the casual world music enthusiast (or the random web surfer who is wondering how you got here). We don’t all have time to search through archives or run around SNNPR looking for Dorze funeral songs, so it is my hope that this web site will make this music easily accessible to the general public. This information by no means represents even a majority of the wide array of musical practices in Ethiopia, but I hope its small sampling will grow over time.
Not sure where to start? Our musical instruments page introduces the different kinds of lyres, wind instruments, and percussion instruments found throughout the country. Our page on the Ethiopian Kignit overviews some common scales if you want to familiarize yourself with what kind of pitch content you can expect to hear in Ethiopian songs. We also have a page featuring a slowly-expanding sampling of Ethiopian rhythms, an exciting project since Ethiopia’s rhythms have been largely undocumented in the past. We also have a few pages dedicated to music from different regions, including our page on Music of the Anywaa People that consists almost entirely of original research conducted in summer of 2016. If you want to delve more in-depth into some of the music and culture of this region of the world, check out the Research Blog, which profiles a certain artist or song in each post and their surrounding cultural and sociopolitical contexts.
This site is perpetually under construction, since there is always new information to be added. But, in the meantime, if you have any suggestions or additional information you feel would be helpful to include, feel free to contact me.
Click around and enjoy!