Asnakech Worku: Asnakech (1975/reissued by Awesome Tapes From Africa, 2018)

April 14, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Asnakech Worku: Asnakech

The first time I started listening to this, I immediately had to lay down and focus all of my attention on it. I didn’t want anything else to distract me. This just completely took me into another world and I wanted to inhabit it for as long as possible. Afterwards, I finally read the liner notes and found out that Asnakech was a cultural icon in Ethiopia, beloved as an actress, musician and dancer. She played an ancient harp known as a krar, and on this album she’s joined by Hailu Mergia, who is still alive and producing brilliant music today. Everything about this recording sounds strange and magical. The organ whines away in the background and gives it a bizarre horror movie atmosphere, barely audible drums drift away in the background, and the echo makes Asnakech’s krar playing seem detached and ghostly. And of course her vocals are just unbelievable, incredibly haunting. Just listen, I don’t have any further words for this.

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