Thursday, March 19, 2015

Seven Videos Of Traditional Ethiopian Music & Dances

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases seven videos that showcase some of the diversity of traditional Ethiopian music and dances. Some of these videos may be contemporary Ethiopian music that reflects traditional Ethiopian sources.

The Addendum to this post provides excerpts from two websites about Ethiopian culture and about the Ethiopian Eskista dance that is featured in many of these videos.

Any information about these videos would be appreciated.

The content of this post is provided for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic reasons.

All copyright remains with their owners.

Thanks to the composers of these songs and thanks to all those who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to the producers of these videos and their publishers on YouTube and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

These examples are presented in chronological order based on their posting date on YouTube with the oldest dated examples given first.

Example #1: African Music & Dance from Hamer, Ethiopia - Muda Sheda & Saron Tefery

Ethiopian TV, Uploaded on Feb 23, 2010 - African Music and Dance from Hamer, Ethiopia - Muda Sheda & Saron Tefery.
Featuring Tigest Tamene - MESONEGAYA

Example #2: Ethiopian Music : Balageru 4 - Gurage Song & Dance

Ethiopian TV, Uploaded on Feb 25, 2010 Abraham Wolde's Balageru 4 - Gurage Song

Example #3: Ethiopian Music Dance - Wolayta

Ethiopian TV, Uploaded on Mar 9, 2010 - The Music and Dance of Wolayta, Ethiopia

Example #4: New ethiopian traditional amharic music 2013 GOJAM by KEBERET BELAY

Theodrose Bekele, Published on Aug 12, 2013

Ethiopian traditional amharic music by KEBERET BELAY GOJAM

Example #5: Traditional Ethiopian Music - Hariibuu naanjedehikaa

Halenga, Published on Nov 12, 2013

Traditional Oromo Music Video

Example #6: Dagne Walle - Wub Abeba [BEST Ethiopian Traditional Music 2014]

danial630, Published on Feb 10, 2014

Example #7: Best Ethiopian Traditional Music 2014 Solomon Demle - Mech Ayeshiwuna

hoplessable, Published on Feb 11, 2014
Here are some comments from this video's viewer comment thread that indicates which part of Ethiopia this music is from:
Fasil Tekeba, Ze Ethiopia. 2014
"Oh my god . . . Wat a nice song ! I LOVE gojjam and its people, they are very kind and hospitable. . And this music is awsome !! Its powerful and nice voice. . .

Aby Lala, 2014
"I am always amazed when i look @ gojjam esksta. I love them."

Excerpt from
"The Music
Ethiopian music is awesome. The different beats give way to different forms of dancing from different areas of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Orthodox church service is also follows a form of music that came from St. Yared. Traditional instruments include "kebero" (drum), "kirar" (upright guitar), "washint" (flute), "masinko" (upright violin), and "begena" (harp)

The Dancing
"Chewata" is the Ethiopian term for dance and it is used for many types of dancing. "Eskista" is the most commonly seen form. Other types include "Ye Gurage Cheweta", "Ye Tigrigna Chewata", "Ye Tembein Chewata", "Ye Wolayta Chewata", "Ye Oromo Chewata", "Ye Sodere Chewata" and other variations on "eskista" for the Gojam and Wolo area."

Excerpt from Ethiopian traditional dance: Eskesta

Martina Petkova,Published 29th July 2010

..."the Ethiopian name “Eskesta” means actually “Dancing shoulders”; it is often practiced in the Northern parts of Ethiopia (Amhara group) where the indigenous tribes of Amhara, Wollo, Gondar etc. are still performing the dance of Eskesta. The motives and characteristics of the dance are often interchanged during the dance by the performers of the variety of war songs, hunting songs, Shepherd songs, love songs and work songs. The best dancer is appointed to the leader of the group and respectively the best singer...

Theme, symbols & rituals – the theme of this type of the dance can be described as follows – expressing certain emotions and impressions from the life through – typical body movement dating back to an Ethiopian tribe (Amhara region), performing these mainly with their heads and shoulders. These significant movements are having a great impact on the Ethiopian indigenous society as a whole. Some of the ideas and themes in this dance are actually inspired from the relations between the genders, work life and religion.

It also is said that this dance was invented because of the snakes. Ethiopian people were often observing the “dance”/movements of the snake, shaking in the same way their neck. On the other hand, in the sphere of indigenous Ethiopian music the influence of the rattlesnake while shaking its tail (the sound it produces) has created a certain way of singing as well.

Furthermore, other symbols and rituals that can be described are these connected with the costumes which each dancer wears. They are often made of woven cotton called “gabbi” or “netella” and painted with different colors depending on the gender of the dancer.

Technique – dance performed both from men and women with their head, neck, chest and shoulders, shaking in specific ways; the music played during the dance is often produced with the traditional Ethiopian instruments like krar, flute, drums and mesenko. The dancers sometimes sing or in some places of the dance utilize the silence in order to stress out some prevailing moments of the dance. There are however some variations depending on the areas in which this dance is performed – Wollo, Gondar or Gojjam."...

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