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Circus Addis Ababa at the Alliance Ethio-Francaise, 11 November. After a few minutes of snappy music from an range of electrified traditional instruments played by musicians in velvet and gold cloaks, the stage suddenly filled with amazingly fit (in every sense) young people, somersaulting and leaping between each others legs with split second timing. The show was magical, with fast music and singing from the band as the large troupe did ever more amazing feats, including a lady contortionist with apparently no bones in her body, to the accompaniment of creaks and squeaks from the ever-eloquent electric masinko. Fire juggling, throwing a small boy in endless somersaults high into the air and then catching him, high speed juggling with streams of hats and tennis balls and juggling blocks that spelt out “VCT” (Voluntary Counselling and Testing for people interested to know their HIV status) and “Stop AIDS”. The drama on rape/ violence against women was a bit obscure. Most amazing for me were the pyramids, for instance one girl doing a vertical splits ontop of the top foot of another doing the same, propped up by various foundation girls. Also cool was a slender beautiful lady with hardly any visible muscle propping up a much burlier man with ease while he did handstands on her hands, etc. Dazzling was the musical leaps as the performers managed to somersault through and over each other in endless wheelies across stage that never ended in the expected pile-up, probably the music guiding them through it. An excellent show sponsored by Unicef and Oxfam GB.
For reviews of Zeritu's CD and recent concert, have a look at http://rperb.blogspot.com
K’Alyn’s new CD "Love Is" is available at Harlem Jazz (Birr 30). I really enjoy this US singer, based in Addis for some months (see Harlem Jazz in "Weekly Round Up" and "Night Moves"). His wide range of styles and songs kaleidoscopes on this collection of his own compositions about love, with influences from many modern greats. My favourite, the anthemic “Labour of Love”. The CD should have been released for Valentine’s Day, as its very romantic.
Out from 19 December, new album from Chachi Tadesse called “I am an African”. Produced by Selam Records and featuring English songs by Chachi and musicians from Nigeria, Jamaica and Dominican Republic. Watch this space for review.
New record from AIT records, a traditional instrumental record called "Memories of Ethiopia", launched 17 February. Arranged by Aychalewem Mengistu, has 11 instrumental tracks incorporating traditional Ethiopian tunes such as Bati, Ambassel, Tizeta and Anchi Hoye as sentimental music.