Kuku Sebsibe Kuku Sebsibe

Little Axe
28th April 2023

Dep, Lauren & Michael's Pick

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Format Info

LP - black vinyl

Deeply affecting & jewel-like pop songs from the early 1980s by the internationally renowned Ethiopian singer, Kuku Sebsibe. Born in Addis Ababa, she began performing live during high school and was almost immediately a sensation, doing stints in many of the most legendary ensembles of the day, including Roha Band, Wallias Band, & Ibex Band. She cut her first single with the great Alemayehu Eshete (see the two separate Ethiopiques volumes dedicated to him), and recorded her first full-length tape with the Roha Band in 1982, from which the present album is derived. The band’s loping bass lines, singing brass, and ethereal organ tones serve to lift Sebsibe’s golden voice to celestial heights even as her firm roots in Ethiopian traditional music keep the music terrestrially planted. Her supple melodies twist & glide —if a lullaby could be said to have power, or a physicality even, then this is something of what it would sound like. Like much of the greatest music, what you find here is that it’s capable of enacting two ideas or feelings simultaneously; one of unbridled joy, the other a graceful, haunting melancholy. This is such moving, immediate music from a master singer —you can just settle along with the momentum of the groove, or give it your full attention to all the layers it’s willing to reveal of itself.